Antibiotic-resistant bacteria poses global threat, Cleveland Clinic doctor weighs in

Posted at 6:05 PM, Sep 21, 2016

Antibiotic resistance is commonly called the biggest threat to modern medicine and experts say it's increasing because of the way people overuse and misuse medications.

Wednesday the United Nations met to address the global threat - it's only the 4th time in 70 years they've met for a health issue. 

Antibiotic resistance can mean more time in the hospital, higher medical costs, even death. 

Dr. Stephen Gordon is chairman of the Infectious Disease department at the Cleveland Clinic. He said antibiotic resistance is not new, but it may be getting worse, "We have had an emergence now of some bacterial diseases, that we really have limited or no options," he said. 

More than 700,000 people die every year because of drug-resistant infections. 

A recent study projects by 2050 antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer.

Experts say there's more than one reason for the problem, from overuse of medications to increased antibiotics in our food.

Dr. Gordon said there's a lot to be done to fix it. "It's not going to be one solution," he said.

The general public can help by targeting the threat in simple ways at home, like washing hands, covering mouths, and keeping up with vaccines. 

Another important aspect, know what you're taking and why. Dr. Gordon said misuse of antibiotics isn't good for anyone. 

"Do I really need this z-pack? Or maybe what I really need is to alleviate the symptoms and signs of a cold," he said.