Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat and limits our ability to prevent and treat an increasing amount of infections caused by bacteria. According to the CDC, there is no system in place to track antibiotic resistance, and without urgent action even common infections could become life threatening.

Antibiotics and other drugs have been used to treat infectious diseases since the 1940s. However, the use of these medicines has become so widespread that bacteria have evolved to create resistant strains. According to the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, this means that antibiotics can no longer “effectively control or kill bacteria growth.”

Antibiotic resistance is worldwide problem. In the United States, over 2 million people are infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics each year, causing more than 23,000 deaths. In the European Union, antibiotic resistance causes 25,000 deaths each year.

There are ways to help solve this problem and protect public health. Recently, at a Georgetown University Medical Center event, doctors outlined some steps that people can take to minimize the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These include talking to your doctor about your antibiotic prescriptions, washing your hands with soap and water to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses, and staying up-to-date on vaccinations to prevent infections from occurring in the first place.

This infographic, created by Nursing@Georgetown’s Online FNP Program, describes antibiotic resistance trends and how we are exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria—both directly and indirectly.