Protecting Yourself and Your Family
Efforts to prevent antibiotic resistance build on the foundation of proven public health strategies. Use this page to learn how you can protect both you and your family from antibiotic-resistant infections.
Cleaning your hands is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular hand cleaning, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.
Disease prevention is key to staying healthy. It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it. Vaccines can protect both the people who receive them and those with whom they come in contact. Vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common in this country and around the world, including polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Over the years vaccines have prevented countless cases of infectious diseases and saved millions of lives.
Following these simple steps will help keep your family safer from food poisoning at home.
Keeping your water safe and how you use your water can prevent infections from occurring.
Take control and learn effective strategies to reduce STD risk. Know the facts and protect yourself and your partner.
Staying safe when sick
Are you aware that colds, flu, most sore throats, and bronchitis are caused by viruses? Did you know that antibiotics do not help fight viruses? It's true. Plus, taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.
Antibiotics aren't always the answer for common respiratory infections. Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses like colds, most sore throats and bronchitis, and some ear infections. Unneeded antibiotics may lead to future antibiotic-resistant infections. Symptom relief might be the best treatment option.
Children and adults with viral infections, which antibiotics cannot treat, usually recover when the illness has run its course. Colds, a type of viral infection, can last for up to two weeks. You should keep your healthcare provider informed if your or your child’s illness gets worse or lasts longer than expected. Over-the-counter medicines may help relieve some symptoms.
Staying safe while in a hospital
Be a Safe Patient
Hospitals remain a source of many of the most resistant organisms, but there are several ways to protect yourself or a loved one:
For more information, visit CDC’s Patient Safety page
Prevent Infections: Patient Admission Video
Don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider to clean their hands. Watch this video to learn the importance of practicing hand hygiene while in the hospital, and how to ask or remind your healthcare providers to practice hand hygiene as well.
Staying safe while travelling
CDC’s Travelers’ Health is dedicated to helping travelers and their clinicians prevent illness and injury during international travel. For information related to your travel destination, including needed vaccines and updated travel health notices, visit Travelers’ Health