Aspirus Media Center

A Call to Action Against Antibiotic Resistance

November 18-24 is U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week


Tristan O'Driscoll, Aspirus Infectious Diseases Pharmacist

Antibiotic resistance is on the rise globally. Every year, over 2.8 million people in the U.S. contract infections due to antibiotic resistance, resulting in more than 35,000 deaths.


Contrary to common misconceptions, antibiotic resistance does not refer to the body itself becoming resistant to antibiotics. Instead, it means that the microbes—specifically bacteria and fungi—present in the body have developed resistance to the drugs (antibiotics) that are being used to treat them. This poses a significant threat to public health, as it can lead to the inefficacy of antibiotics, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of spreading resistant strains.


Health experts are detecting antibiotic resistance locally, too.


Tristan O'Driscoll, Infectious Diseases Pharmacist and System Antimicrobial Stewardship Coordinator at Aspirus Health, notes, “We’re seeing infections more commonly now that in the past were rare.” As infections resistant to treatment become more common, addressing them becomes increasingly difficult, often requiring costly and less effective alternatives with added side effects.


O’Driscoll advocates for a cautious and precise approach to antibiotic usage to avoid unnecessary complications, side effects and the development of antibiotic resistance.


“It's important to take antibiotics as prescribed by your provider. Don't self-treat or take antibiotics that are left over from a previous prescription,” warns O’Driscoll. “If you think you have an infection, go to your doctor to have them diagnose it and prescribe proper treatment.”


Using antibiotics when necessary is crucial, but there are ways to avoid the need for them in the first place. O'Driscoll emphasizes, "Staying updated on vaccinations and maintaining hand hygiene are simple ways to prevent infections, reducing the need for antibiotics. This ensures that antibiotics will be effective when genuinely needed."


Empower yourself and your community in the fight against antibiotic resistance. By taking these simple yet impactful steps, you play a vital role in keeping us healthy now, preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics and safeguarding the health of future generations.


For more information on antibiotic awareness, visit



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