Test Your Antibiotic Smarts


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 - Chemotherapy + 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)? - Diarrhea - 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. - True + False / 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.