Antibiotics Overused in U.S. Hospitals – What This Means for You

drug medincin on handBy Emily Murray

Anyone who has been to the doctor and been prescribed antibiotics knows the deal – ‘even if you begin feeling better, be sure to take all your pills.’

Do you always follow this direction?

If not, you are putting yourself at a greater risk for developing a potentially fatal antibiotic resistant infection according to health experts.

Many of us run to the doctor for antibiotics whenever an illness hits and really who could blame us? Since the invention of penicillin, we now have the opportunity to take a pill and begin feeling better nearly instantaneously. While we have long known the dangers of taking antibiotics too frequently, we are beginning to hear more and more warnings as new antibiotic-resistant infections are making their way in to the public. Even the White House has recently warned of their overuse and the dangers that come with it.

According to the CDC, each year more than 2 million Americans develop an antibiotic-resistant infection. Of these, more than 23,000 will die. These numbers are pretty staggering.

When patients are admitted to the hospital for a major surgery or any other massive issue, one of the first things typically done is to start the patient on antibiotics to ward off infection. According to a study that was recently published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, of the 505 hospitals observed, 78% of the cases involved giving the patient “unnecessary” or “redundant” antibiotics. Not only is this an issue from a health standpoint, but from a financial one as well. According to a Fox News article on this subject, unnecessary antibiotic use results in more than $12 million that could be avoided.