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AROs are bacteria (germs) that are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. This means that some types of antibiotics can’t kill them.
AROs can spread on unclean hands and surfaces touched by a person who is carrying or infected with an ARO.
AROs can live on hard surfaces (such as countertops and toilets) or medical equipment (such as bed rails) for days or even weeks.
Colonization means that an ARO lives on you but doesn’t cause health problems. For most people, colonization with an ARO isn’t dangerous. It usually won’t make you sick because your immune system keeps it under control.
Infection is when an ARO causes symptoms of infection such as pain and fever.
Some people may be at risk of getting an ARO infection. As with any other type of infection, it can become serious, like an infected wound or pneumonia.
People who are colonized with an ARO, also called carriers, are not usually treated with antibiotics. Colonization may go away without any treatment.
People infected with an ARO often get antibiotics. It’s very important to finish taking the whole prescription of antibiotics, even if you’re feeling better.
When you’re in the hospital and you have an ARO infection, your healthcare team may take extra precautions so it doesn’t spread to other patients. If you’re on extra precautions, a sign on your door will describe the contact precautions that people need to follow before entering your room.
If you have an ARO infection, you can stop it from spreading by doing the following every time you leave your hospital room:
It’s safe for family and friends to visit you in the hospital.
There are simple things you can do to stop AROs and other germs from spreading:
To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=custom.ab_antibioticresistantorganisms_inst.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: April 13, 2021
Author: Infection Prevention and Control, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.