Doctors are giving out antibiotics like candy

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in the U.S.—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistance affects some 2 million people in the U.S., and kills 23,000 each year—and it’s mostly due to unnecessary prescriptions.

According to a study published on Tuesday in JAMA, approximately 262 million patients who visited their physician received scripts for antibiotics on an outpatient basis from 2010 to 2011. The new report suggests approximately 30 percent of those scripts were inappropriate. The study authors say their findings indicate that the medical community needs clearer guidelines on how to assess the need to give these drugs to patients.

Resistance to antibiotics can have serious consequences. Bacterial infections that are otherwise easy to treat suddenly become life-threatening since first-line antibiotics are no longer effective. Overexposure to antibiotics can also cause a person to develop severe allergies which means the drugs then become no longer safe to use.

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