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Can I Overuse Antibiotics?

Can I Overuse Antibiotics?

Q: What’s MRSA, and does it have anything to do with the overuse of antibiotics?

A: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a mutated form of the common Staph bacteria. The mutation likely developed from the over-use of antibiotics. Over time, the bacteria evolved to the point that it became resistant to the most common drugs used for treating such infections.

About 1/3 of the population has MRSA living on their skin or in their nose, and it usually only presents a problem when a cut or opening in the skin or mucosal membrane allows the bacteria to enter into bloodstream.

Take matters into your own hands. The next time your doctor recommends an antibiotic, be sure to ask if you REALLY need it.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
1:17PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

Drug-resistant strains of diseases are becoming much more common due to overuse of antibiotics.

4:55PM PDT on Apr 18, 2011


6:55PM PDT on Sep 9, 2010

I had MRSA this past winter. Took every antibiotic known to man. Now I have skin problems.

2:24AM PST on Mar 8, 2010

thank you

1:30PM PST on Feb 11, 2010

sure you can - and then for many you subsequently become immune to the benefits of the drug

12:26PM PST on Jan 30, 2010

Thanks for the article.

8:48AM PST on Dec 29, 2009

Whenever I am prescribed anti-biotics, I always follow the directions on the bottle. Most of the time these directions are to take the medication for 10 days. Of course, I am already feeling better by the third or fourth day, but I know it would be a mistake to not take the full ten days. I am sure the instructions have a very good reason. For instance, there could still be bacteria present and I could have a relapse.

3:26AM PST on Dec 28, 2009

You know overuse of antibiotics lowers our immune system as well eradicate the natural or symbiotic living bacteria in our gut & can lead to a new symptom: dysbacteriosis.

10:35AM PST on Dec 13, 2009

environments are ever changing and so are illnesses....the important thing is to wash your hands and to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Also, use paper kleenex rather than cloth. MRSA is all over the environment, and I agree with Dr. Brent, ask if you need an antibiotic before taking it...illnesses/bugs change with resistance to exisiting antibiotics, so see if Mother Nature will help solve the problem or your own antigens before jumping on the bandwagon of antibiotics.

10:41AM PDT on Jun 14, 2009


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So cute. Thank you for sharing.

I always use unscented items, but not many that I use at all,

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