Since penicillin was introduced in the 1940s, more than 150 antibiotics have been developed. These drugs have helped save many lives by fighting bacterial infections, some fungal infections and some parasites.

Through the years, though, certain bacteria have developed the ability to resist the antibiotics that were designed to kill them. Organisms such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis are becoming world-wide problems.

We can take steps to prevent more bacteria from developing a resistance to antibiotics. Here are some things you can do.

Know when to take antibiotics. The first step in using antibiotics safely is to know when you should take them. Antibiotics won’t work against viral infections including colds and the flu. Viruses also cause most ear infections, coughs, sore throats, acute bronchitis and stomach flu. With a viral infection, the best thing you can do is try to relieve the symptoms.

Follow directions. If your doctor does prescribe an antibiotic, make sure you understand exactly how it should be taken. Some medications work best if taken with food while others should be taken on an empty stomach. You also should take all of the antibiotics in the prescription. Don’t stop taking them when you feel better or save some for the next time you feel sick.

Prevent infections. Proper hand washing remains our best defense against both bacterial and viral infections. Other ways to prevent the spread of infections include covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, keeping food preparation areas clean, and cleaning often touched surfaces such as door knobs.

To learn more about taking medications, take the free, online over-the-counter medicines quiz on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
214 324-6100

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