November 14, 2018
An infection occurs when germs enter our body, increase in number, and cause a reaction. Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat.
No one can completely avoid getting an infection, including antibiotic-resistant infections, but some people are at greater risk than others. When possible, take action to avoid getting an infection in the first place to help protect you and your family from harmful germs.
Know Your Risk and Take Care
Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk for certain infections, especially if you do not have vaccinations or have a weakened immune system. Everyone should keep scrapes and wounds clean, and take good care of chronic conditions.
Ask Questions and Speak Up
Talk to your healthcare providers about questions or worries you have. For example, at a doctor’s office:
- What can I do to prevent infections?
- What do I need to know about the antibiotics you’re prescribing?
Or at a healthcare facility, like a hospital or nursing home:
- What do you do to prevent infections?
- What test will be done to make sure I’m getting the right antibiotic?
- What are you doing to prevent a drug-resistant or C. difficile (life-threatening diarrhea) infection?
- Do I still need my medical device (for example, catheter)?
Clean Your Hands
Regular hand cleaning is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent spreading germs.
Recognize Early Symptoms of Infection
Tell your doctor if you think you have an infection, or if your infection is not getting better or is getting worse. Some infections, like skin infections, appear as redness, pain, or drainage at an IV catheter site or surgery site.
Tell your doctor if you think you have an infection, or if your infection is not getting better or is getting worse. Some infections, like skin infections, appear as redness, pain, or drainage at an IV catheter site or surgery site. Symptoms of a C. difficile infection include severe diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain/tenderness, and nausea. Often these symptoms come with a fever.
Use Antibiotics the Right Way
Antibiotics save lives, but any time antibiotics are used in people or animals, they can lead to antibiotic resistance. Learn more about using antibiotics, including when they are needed and when they are not.
Remember Pets Share Germs
Sometimes animals, including pets, carry germs that can make people sick. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after:
- Touching animals or anywhere animals live
- Handling pet food
- Cleaning up after pets or livestock
Learn more about pets and antibiotic resistance.