WHO global health days

Quiz: How much do you know about antibiotic resistance?

1 Antibiotics are powerful medicines that help to fight:

Antibiotics are medicines that treat bacterial infections. They do not cure infections caused by viruses, such as the common cold or flu. Taking antibiotics when you do NOT need them can prevent them working when you DO need them.

2 Antibiotic resistance happens when my body becomes resistant to antibiotics.

False. Antibiotics target bacteria, killing or weakening them and helping you to fight off infections. Your body does not develop resistance to antibiotics; it is the bacteria which becomes resistant to antibiotics through genetic changes. This means that if you get an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, the usual antibiotics used to fight it will no longer be effective. A less accessible or last resort antibiotic will then need to be used, and in some cases options for potential active antibiotics could run out.

3 Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can spread to humans through:

Antibiotics are given to humans, animals, fish and crops. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread through contact with humans, animals, food or environment that are carrying them. You can help to prevent the spread of infections by regularly washing your hands, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and practising safer sex.

4 What can happen if I get an antibiotic-resistant infection?

Antibiotic resistance is happening everywhere in the world, affecting people of all ages. It is one of the biggest threats to public health today. Antibiotic resistant infections can take longer to treat, may require more frequent doctor visits, possible hospital stays, more severe side effects and expensive treatments. Serious, isn’t it?

5 Antibiotic resistance is already out of control and it's only getting worse. There's nothing I can do.

While antibiotic resistance occurs naturally over time, the misuse and over-use of antibiotics in plants, animals and humans has accelerated this process to dangerously high levels. BUT it’s not too late to reduce the impact of antibiotic resistance and we all have a part to play in preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics. To find out more about what you and people in your community can do, take a look at the information on these posters:

6 I can help tackle antibiotic resistance if I:

Taking action to prevent infections, such as by getting vaccinated, will stop you from getting sick and reduce your need for antibiotics. Even small actions can make a difference, like washing your hands regularly to prevent the spread of infection. And remember: if you do get sick, always consult your doctor about whether you need antibiotics. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice, and not to share or use leftover antibiotics.