What Can You and I Do?
Use good hygiene. By washing your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water, you are helping to prevent disease, and therefore the need for antibiotics. Cooking meat thoroughly and handling food hygienically will help to prevent food-borne illnesses. If you are a non-vegetarian, choose antibiotics-free meat. Take antibiotics only when necessary and exactly as directed by your healthcare professional. Do not demand antibiotics to treat viral infections such as coughs, colds, and the flu. Taking an antibiotic drug when it won’t treat your illness is still associated with the risk of side effects from that drug, and can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance.
Finally, as Rustav Aminov writes in a 2010 report on antibiotic resistance: “It is not a single grand challenge; it is rather a complex problem requiring concerted efforts of microbiologists, ecologists, healthcare specialists, educationalists, policymakers, legislative bodies, agricultural and pharmaceutical industry workers, and the public to deal with. In fact, this should be of everyone’s concern, because, in the end, there is always a probability for any of us at some stage to get infected with a pathogen that is resistant to antibiotic treatment.”