When you go to the doctor with even a chance of an infection, it's not uncommon for an antibiotic to be prescribed. But the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention say that might be a bad idea, as too much of a seemingly good thing can be a bad thing.
FOX News Radio's Chris Hoenig reports:
American doctors are prescribing so many antibiotics that they're becoming ineffective.
(Dr. Hicks) "Once we get to the point where we have a lot of antibiotic resistance, we're encountering infections where we have no options for treatment."
Dr. Lauri Hicks with the CDC says enough antibiotics are prescribed each year to give a cycle to 80% of the country's population, and even more in some age groups.
(Dr. Hicks) "Thirteen prescriptions for every 10 persons age 0-2, and 10 prescriptions for every 10 persons age 65 and older."
Location also matters: West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee have the highest rates - more than one course per person. But researchers say even the lowest prescribing states - Alaska, Oregon & California - probably prescribe too much. Prescription rates there would cover about 60% of the population.
The CDC is currently is currently tracking at least 20 different strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Chris Hoenig, FOX News Radio.