Surprising Remedy for Deadly Hospital Infections

While it’s hard to believe, hospitals have become one of the riskiest places for picking up a deadly infection. Now a new study suggests an equally surprising solution: Doctors should stop giving hospital patients so many antibiotics.

Research published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, shows that when doctors in U.K. hospitals cut back on prescribing Cipro, Levaquin, and other so-called fluoroquinolone antibiotics, the rate of deadly infections from the bacteria known as C. diff dropped a whopping 80 percent.

The overuse of antibiotics—particularly “broad-spectrum” drugs like Cipro—increases the risk of hospital infections because they kill a wide variety of bacteria, including those that actually prevent infections, explains Arjun Srinivasan, M.D., who oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) efforts to prevent hospital-acquired infections.

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