Antibiotics save untold numbers of human lives every day. Modern medicine depends on their ability to treat and prevent infections such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), tuberculosis, and E. coli. Yet drug-resistant bacteria are spreading across the nation, and antibiotics are losing their effectiveness.
Take our quiz and see how much you know about antibiotics.
? Without effective antibiotics, it may become too dangerous to safely carry out which treatment(s)?
- Hip replacements
- Organ transplants
+ All of the above
/ Patients undergoing surgical procedures or being treated with immunosuppressive drugs, such as those used in chemotherapy, are at increased risk of infection.
? Antibiotics can cause which adverse event(s)?
- A rash
- Nausea and vomiting
+ All of the above
/ It’s important to take antibiotics only when needed. These drugs can be life-saving, but they can also have side effects. The adverse events listed here are among the most common, but in rare cases, side effects can be serious and life-threatening.
? What percentage of antibiotics prescribed for human use is unnecessary or inappropriate?
- 10 percent
- 30 percent
+ 50 percent
/ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that "up to 50 percent of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not optimally effective as prescribed."
- 70 percent
? How much does the U.S. health care system spend annually on antibiotic-resistant infections?
- $1 billion
- $2 billion
- $10 billion
+ $20 billion
/ Studies estimate that antibiotic-resistant infections cost the U.S. more than $20 billion in health care expenditures, $35 billion in societal costs from lost productivity, and 8 million extra days in the hospital. For more information, visit this CDC Web page.
? If you have a fever and green discharge from your nose, you’ll definitely need to be treated with antibiotics.
/ Many viral infections, including sinus infections, can cause a high fever and dark green mucosal discharge from the nose. These symptoms are rarely the result of bacterial infections and, therefore, most often do not require antibiotics.
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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.