A specific class of medications that have been used for decades are becoming ineffective in treating certain types of bacteria.
Now doctors are taking a closer look at how they're prescribing antibiotics.
Action News Jax Courtney Cole spoke to a local doctor about how this happens and what steps you can take to protect yourself from this resistance.
"In today's culture, we tend to want to go to the doctor for a runny nose or the first sign of a fever,” said Suzy Kelly.
But Kelly says she’s old-fashioned and tends to wait it out first.
"When my grandchildren have fevers, we treat them with fluids and wait and see what happens. We don't go right ahead and go to the doctor,” Kelly told Action News Jax's Courtney Cole.
Dr. Sunil Joshi said the urge to take antibiotics right away is leading to your body's resistance.
Some of the most common types of antibiotics include: penicillin, amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin and Zithromax (more commonly known as Z-Pack.)
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"The biggest issue is overuse. If you're getting antibiotics and it's killing a bacteria, just like any living organism, there are parts of that bacteria or virus for instance, that evade the killing mechanism,” Doctor Joshi said.
Joshi, who is president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, points to staph infections as the prime example of what happens when antibiotics are overused.
It’s a common infection that has become harder to treat because many forms have become more resistant to treatment.
Dr. Joshi told Action News Jax you should wait at least seven to 10 days after noticing any symptoms of an illness, to see a doctor.
"In today's culture, we tend to want to go to the doctor for a runny nose or the first sign of a fever." #NEXT on @ActionNewsJax at 5:55, I'll explain why a local doctor says this type of behavior is leading to a specific type of medications becoming more ineffective: pic.twitter.com/JUX9vL64eQ— Courtney Cole (@CourtneyANJax) April 22, 2019
The doctor said antibiotics are typically overused when it comes to treating respiratory illnesses.
“We could be talking about sinus infections, pneumonia, meningitis, G.I. bug infections. These are the kinds of things that can have sustainable effects on people,” Joshi said.
But when it all comes down to it Joshi says doctors need to do a better job of choosing which patients actually need the antibiotics.
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