One Health Resource Library:
Antibiotics are powerful tools for fighting and preventing infections. However, widespread use of antibiotics has resulted in an alarming increase in antibiotic-resistant infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of drugs designed to cure or prevent infections. As antibiotic-resistant infections become more common, therapeutic options for the treatment of bacterial infections are increasingly limited, expensive, and often more toxic.
The health of humans, animals, and the environment is interconnected. Widespread use of antibiotics has led to resistant infections in both humans and animals. Concerns have also been raised about the effect of antibiotics in the environment, present as a result of human waste treatment processes, distribution of antibiotic-containing human and animal waste as fertilizer on agricultural land, and effluent from industrial processes.
Learn more about the causes of antibiotic resistance and how it spreads in both humans and animals: CDC: About Antimicrobial Resistance
Everyone has a part to play. Antibiotic stewardship consists of coordinated interventions that promote judicious antibiotic use and reduce the impact of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. One Health antibiotic stewardship promotes understanding among human, animal, and environmental health fields, while also informing the public and engaging them in their own antibiotic stewardship role. We will be most productive if we learn from each other’s successes and challenges and if we communicate in a way that is respectful of all fields. We all know that we have work to do. From the doctor’s office to the farm to the veterinary clinic and, yes, to the homes of regular Minnesotans, we can all improve how we use antibiotics.
On this page, you will find a library of resources. Learn more about One Health antibiotic stewardship and what you can do.
What can you do about it?
Understand when antibiotics are needed
|Illness||Usually caused by:||Antibiotics Needed|
|Acute bronchitis/chest cold||Viruses||No|
|Sore throat (except strep)||Viruses||No|
|Fluid in the middle ear (otitis media with effusion)||Viruses||No|
- Learn about six simple and smart facts about antibiotic use:
CDC: Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer
- Learn more about when antibiotics are and aren’t needed for common infections:
CDC: Viruses or Bacteria - What's got you sick?
- More details about specific common infections:
CDC: Get Smart: Common Illnesses
Take your antibiotics in the right way
- Take the antibiotic exactly as the doctor prescribes, even if you start to feel better. Do not skip doses or stop taking an antibiotic early unless your doctor tells you to do so.
- Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics treat specific types of infections. Taking the wrong medicine may delay treatment and allow bacteria to grow.
- Do not save antibiotics for the next illness or infection. Get rid of any leftover medicine once the prescribed course of treatment is completed.
- Prevent infections, including antibiotic-resistant infections, by practicing good hand hygiene and getting recommended vaccines.
- Do not ask for antibiotics when your doctor thinks you do not need them.
- Remember antibiotics have side effects. When you doctor says you don’t need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good.
Consider alternatives to antibiotic use when you are feeling sick
- CDC: Symptom relief
- Some child care providers won’t allow a child to return without antibiotic treatment. However, not all infections require antibiotic such as viral infections.
CDC: One Page Sheet: Child Care Letter
A letter template for daycare providers that explains this and can be signed by a health care professional.
Dispose leftover antibiotics appropriately
- Low levels of antibiotics in the environment might promote development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is important to practice appropriate disposal of unused pharmaceuticals to avoid releasing antibiotics and other drugs into the environment.
For example, one should not flush unused antibiotics down the toilet.
Learn more about how to appropriately dispose of unused antibiotics:
- FDA: Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy AwaREx prescription drug safety program
- MPCA: Managing Unwanted Medications
Learn about appropriate antibiotic use in animals
Livestock and agriculture
- Even with good farming practices, animals occasionally need veterinary treatment to stay healthy. Sometimes this includes antibiotics to treat bacterial infection. However, it is critical that antibiotics be used responsibly to prevent the emergence of resistance.
- FAO: Antibiotic Resistance: What the Agriculture Sector Can Do (PDF)
- It is also important to use antibiotics responsibly when caring for your pets as misuse in pets can always cause antibiotic resistance.
- OIE: Fighting Antibiotic Resistance (PNG)
- AVMA: Your Pet’s Medications
Learn more about antibiotic stewardship
- Current State Plan Progress and Data
- U of M CIDRAP Antimicrobial Stewardship Project
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