Antibiotics are miracle drugs that over the years have saved millions of lives. But their misuse and overuse are having dangerous consequences. They’re creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria that have spread from hospitals into our communities. Consumer Reports calls the rise of superbugs a major crisis of our times and says we all have a role to play in stopping them.
The problem: Not all infections can be cured by an antibiotic. The overuse in people, livestock, poultry, and farmed seafood have led to mutations of bacteria that are now resistant to once-effective drugs.
Doctors and consumers are part of the problem. We use antibiotics even if they won’t work, such as for a cold or the flu, and sometimes we’re the ones who insist on using them. In fact, a Consumer Reports survey found that one in five people who got an antibiotic asked his doctor to prescribe it.
Consumer Reports is spearheading a program to educate both patients and doctors about when antibiotics are needed and when they aren’t. You can find more information on ConsumerReports.org.