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Superbug Concerns This Cold & Flu Season

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, October 14 2013 at 4:52 PM, Updated: Mon, October 14 2013 at 11:05 PM

Cold and flu season is kicking into gear and officials are cautioning people to think twice before taking an antibiotic to cure that stuffed-up nose.

They're bad, they're scary, but they come in very small packages... superbugs.

"They came when bacteria became resistant to antibiotics that we had," said Marlene Sadler, a Public Health Nurse at Jackson County Health and Human Services.

Antibiotic resistance is a very real threat. One of the more commonly known superbugs - MRSA, a difficult infection to treat. According to reports, MRSA is considered on the rise in Oregon.

"I think that there is a potential for big trouble down the road," she said.

"The more of these bugs we get, the more people we'll be losing," said Marian Sugden, who's been a nurse since 1966.

According to Sugden, unless new antibiotics are developed and over use ends, the superbugs created by resistant strains will continue to develop and win.

"We've had too much exposure to antibiotics in the food chain," began Sugden.

"Some of our animals are fed antibiotics to increase their mass," she continued.

She also mentioned the overuse of antibiotics.

"I think doctors are becoming better educated in treating viruses. Before they would just give you an antibiotic because that's what you wanted," recalled Sadler.

As a result, antibiotics became overprescribed and bacteria became resistant to medication. However on the bright side...

"More and more doctors are going 'no you don't need that, you need to have rest and hydrate."

Sadler says the best option though, not to get sick at all. She recommends getting your flu shot among other preventative measures.

"Wash your hands, don't touch your face and do the vampire cough," she said as she moved to cough into her sleeve.

So next time you get a cold, experts warn, sideline yourself and don't pressure your doctor for antibiotics.

Remember, antibiotics won't help you kick that pesky cold or flu. But if you do come down with an infection that should be treated by antibiotics, Sadler said it's important to take all the pills. If you don't,  you could be contributing to a more drug resistant bug.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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