Victoria J. Fraser, MD, head of the Department of Medicine, spoke about antibiotic resistance and its evolution into a public health crisis at the 2015 TEDxStLouisWomen conference, an event that celebrated the impact women have here and around the world.
With a nod to talk show host David Letterman, Fraser, a specialist in infectious diseases, shared 10 things people can do to prevent antibiotic resistance:
- Get vaccinated
Prevent infections by getting vaccinated against bacterial and viral infections.
- Don’t ask for antibiotics
Remember that most colds are caused by viruses and won’t respond to antibiotics.
- Ask if you really need antibiotics
If you are offered an antibiotic prescription, make sure it’s necessary.
- Choose antibiotic-free foods
This can help minimize your exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria and decrease the risk of spreading resistance from livestock to people.
- Prepare food safely
Understand what’s contaminated and how to prevent cross-contamination between uncooked and cooked foods, especially raw meats, eggs, fruits and vegetables.
- Stay home when sick
Don’t try to be a hero – make sure you don’t spread your infection to others.
- Practice cough hygiene
That means covering your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze.
- Wash your hands
This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent the spread of infections.
- Teach your kids to wash
It’s not enough to wash your own hands. Help children learn good behaviors early to prevent transmission of germs.
- Remind others to wash
Ask doctors and nurses if they have washed their hands before caring for you or your loved ones.
Read more about Fraser’s talk in the Washington University Record.