88 The Costco Connection MARCH 2018
servative assumptions and are likely mini-
The overuse of antibiotics extends well
beyond the U.S. The World Health Organi-
zation (WHO) just released guidelines that
provide advice on “which antibiotics to use
for common infections and which to pre-
serve for the most serious circumstances”
( who.int; search “antibiotic guidelines”).
The goal of these new guidelines is to
“ensure that antibiotics are available when
needed, and that the right antibiotics are
prescribed for the right infections.”
Can antibiotic problems be solved?
WHO expects its guidelines will
improve patient outcomes, reduce the
development of drug-resistant bacteria
and maintain the effectiveness of “last
resort” antibiotics that are essential when
all other options don’t work.
It could be a while before significant
improvements are seen. Doctors and other
clinicians will have to alter their prescribing habits; patients will have to better
understand what ailments antibiotics can
and cannot help and the risks in taking
these medicines unnecessarily—and ulti-
THERE ARE simple steps you can take to
reduce your risk of antibiotic-related problems, and to help reduce the development
of antibiotic resistance. Here are a few.
• First and foremost, try to avoid
getting infections so you won’t need
antibiotics in the first place.
According to the CDC, you can
prevent drug-resistant infections
by getting recommended immunizations, following safe food-preparation
guidelines, regularly washing your
hands with soap and water, and
using antibiotics as directed and only
• If you are prescribed an antibi-
otic, ask if it is necessary or if is
being prescribed as a precaution. If
it’s being used preventively, ask what
other steps can be taken. Ask specifically
about antibiotic resistance.
• Use antibiotics only as prescribed.
Take the appropriate dosage each day, and
be sure to take all the medication.
• If you are taking antibiotics
and miss a dose, contact your
doctor for advice. To avoid this
issue, set reminders for your-
self using your phone or other
• Never take antibiotics that
are left over from a previous illness or that were prescribed to
• Don’t pressure your doctor to
give you an antibiotic. If your doctor doesn’t think you need one, ask
for advice on managing your symptoms in other ways.—RC
What should you do?
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 87
mately stop demanding them even when
advised against their use. Additionally, it
can be hard for doctors to resist patient
demands, and doctors who prescribe fewer
antibiotics tend to have lower patient satisfaction scores.
For steps you can take, see the tips
below (“What should you do?”). C
Costco member Roberta Carson is founder
and president of Zaggo Inc. ( zaggocare.org),
a nonpro;t designed to help caregivers.
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These taxes are in addition to product price. While supplies last.
Offer valid 3/15/18–4/8/18.
See your Costco Savings Book for details. Wash a way dirt and bacteria for good hand hygiene. The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you
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