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The overuse of antibiotics, consumer watchdog groups suggest, is causing the cases of superbug infections to increase considerably.

To illustrate the importance of understanding the risks, Consumer Reports decided to look into the matter closely. According to the consumer watchdog’s report on the subject, the story of a New York woman serves as a great example of the threats that antibiotic-resistant bacteria can pose.

The 56-year-old was prescribed the antibiotic clindamycin to ensure she wouldn’t experience any dental infections but over time, the drug caused the exact opposite effect. Instead of dental infections, the kindergarten teacher experienced an intestinal infection. Since the drug removed her stomach’s “good” bacteria, harmful bacteria took over. As a result, she fell ill and ended up being taken in for an emergency procedure to remove her colon in order to help her to survive.

Ten days after the woman started to take the pills, the report shows, she succumbed to the illness.

While this story hasn’t been covered by the media as extensively as it should, many of us experience similar stories. Some end in tragedy while others involve patients spending months, even years to recover. So how should you proceed to avoid similar problems?

According to experts, the harm may come in two different ways. In many cases, patients who are prescribed antibiotics end up suffering greatly because the drugs may isrupt the body’s natural balance of good and bad bacteria. As a result, health is impacted in a negative way.

Superbugs like the C. difficile for instance kill 14,000 people each year while 250,000 fall ill due to the bacteria.

But other cases, however, are not directly linked to the intake of antibiotics. Too often, the overuse of antibiotics also breeds superbugs that survive in other environments. As a result, patients in hospitals are susceptible to being infected simply because medical staffs have a hard time keeping important medical instruments completely sterilized. But hospitals are not the only place where these superbug spread; nail salons, playgrounds, and locker rooms are also perfect for the spreading of superbugs.

While penicillin has saved millions of lives 75 years ago, the overuse of antibiotics may have the exact opposite effect. As a result, over 2.5 million Americans fall ill due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria while 37,000 die also annually.

Before it gets worse, consumers should learn more about the risks and make their voice heard if they believe that more has to be done to avoid the spreading of superbugs.

If you would like to learn more about superbugs, the antibiotics that doctors and other specialists are overusing, and their effects, make sure to read the full Consumer Reports announcement here.

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