The Use and Mis-Use of Antibiotics

The long standing, overuse of antibiotics has led to an alarming rate of prevalence of multi-drug resistant bacteria, such as, (MRSA) Methylcillian Resistant Staph Aureus and (VRE) Vancomyacin Resistant Enterococcus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than half of all antibiotics prescribed are not necessary.  Antibiotics do not treat viruses, such as, colds and flu.  Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. Antimicrobial stewardship programs promote the appropriate use of antibiotics, improves patient outcomes, reduces drug resistant organisms, and decreases the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms. 

Antibiotic overuse contributes to the rapidly escalating problem of Clostridium difficile infection (C-DIFF)   C.Difficile causes life-threatening diarrhea..   A 2015 CDC study found that C. difficile caused almost half a million infections among patients in the United States in a single year. An estimated 15,000 deaths are directly attributable to C. difficile infections, making it a substantial cause of infectious disease death in the United States.

Urinary Tract Infections are caused by bacteria and are treated with antibiotic medications.  Asymptomatic bacteriuria is possibly cloudy or malodorous urine, without accompanying symptoms of a urinary tract infection such as frequent urination, painful urination and fever.  Chronic asymptomatic bacteriuria occurs in as many as 50% of the population in long-term care.  Bacteriuria is often misdiagnosed as an Urinary Tract Infection and inappropriately treated with antibiotics, putting the person at risk for developing multi-drug resistant organisms and/or C. difficile, among other unwanted side effects.

Do your part to decrease your risk of acquiring antibiotic resistant organisms by: Never insist that your doctor prescribe an antibiotic for you

*Never take antibiotics for viral infections

*Never take antibiotics that were prescribed for someone else

*Never take antibiotics that were left over from a previous infection

*If antibiotics are prescribed for you, finish them even if you feel better


Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Melissa Latham, RN, NHA.   Melissa is  the Administrator at Larchwood Inns and the PARC and may be reached at            970-245-0022 or by email at