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Antibiotic Resistance || National Antibiotic Awareness Week

November 18th – 24th 2020 is US National Antibiotic Awareness week.

  • U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is an annual one-week observance that gives participating organizations an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of appropriate antibiotic use to combat the threat of antibiotic resistance.
  • Be Antibiotics Aware, a CDC educational effort, complements U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week by providing partners with up-to-date information to help improve human antibiotic prescribing and use in the United States.

10 Fact about Antibiotics

  • Antibiotics can save lives. When a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects and antibiotic resistance.
  • Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Everyone can help improve antibiotic prescribing and use. Improving the way healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics, and the way we take antibiotics, helps keep us healthy now, helps fight antibiotic resistance, and ensures that these life-saving antibiotics will be available for future generations.
  • Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu, bronchitis, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green.
  • Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics. Antibiotics aren’t needed for many sinus infections and some ear infections. Antifungal drugs treat fungal infections.
  • An antibiotic will not make you feel better if you have a virus. Respiratory viruses usually go away in a week or two without treatment. Ask your healthcare professional about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.
  • When antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you, and the side effects could still cause harm. Side effects range from minor to very severe health problems. When you need antibiotics for a bacterial infection, the benefits usually outweigh the risk of side effects.
  • Taking antibiotics can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance occurs when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. If antibiotics lose their effectiveness, then we lose the ability to treat infections, like those that lead to sepsis.
  • If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
  • Talk with your healthcare professional if you develop any side effects, especially severe diarrhea, since that could be a Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile or C. diff) infection, which needs to be treated immediately.
  • Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy by cleaning hands by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; staying home when sick; and getting recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.

If you are interested there is a free webinar you can attend – here is the link:

Topic: Implementation of Antibiotic Stewardship Activities in Critical Access Hospitals

Description: During this webinar, leading experts will discuss the implementation of antibiotic stewardship activities to measure and improve how antibiotics are used. The discussion will emphasize the uptake of hospital core elements in the U.S., and address overcoming barriers and practical suggestions for enhancing antibiotic stewardship activities in critical access hospitals. This webinar will be co-hosted by CDC and HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Nov 18, 2020 03:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Antibiotic Resistance

  • Antibiotics can save lives, but any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance.
  • Antibiotic resistance happens when germs, like bacteria and fungi, develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. That means the germs are not killed and continue to grow.
  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.
  • More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. (See Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance (AR / AMR))
  • Antibiotic resistance does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antibiotics; it means bacteria that live in and on our bodies develop the ability to defeat the antibiotics designed to kill them.
  • When bacteria become resistant, antibiotics cannot fight them, and the bacteria multiply.
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat.
  • Antibiotic-resistant germs can quickly spread across settings, including communities, the food supply, healthcare facilities, the environment (e.g., soil, water), and around the world. Antibiotic resistance is a One Health problem—the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment (soil, water).

Antibiotic Use

  • Antibiotics can save lives and are critical tools for treating infections, like those that can lead to sepsis. However, any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance.
  • Reactions from antibiotics cause 1 out of 5 medication-related visits to the ER.
  • In children, reactions from antibiotics are the most common cause of medication-related ER visits.
  • Common side effects of antibiotics can include rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections.
  • More serious side effects include:
    • C. difficile infection (also called C. diff.) causes severe diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.
    • Severe and life-threatening allergic reactions, such as wheezing, hives, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis (which also includes feeling that your throat is closing or choking, or your voice is changing).
  • Some types of antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones, can be associated with serious side effects including life-threatening C. difficile infection.
  • Antibiotic use can also disrupt the human microbiome, the community of naturally occurring germs in and on the body. A healthy microbiome is important for staying healthy and preventing disease.
    • Your body needs bacteria to function normally. When a patient takes antibiotics, these drugs kill the infection-causing “bad” germs, but “good” germs that protect against infection are also destroyed at the same time.
    • It can take weeks to months for these “good” bacteria to return, if ever.
    • A disrupted microbiome can put people at risk for getting some types of infection, such as C. difficile, and may contribute to other long-term conditions that are believed to sometimes be associated with a disrupted microbiome, such as recurrent or frequent infections, autoimmune diseases, and even heart disease.
  • Because antibiotics have the potential to cause harm, they should be prescribed when their benefits outweigh the potential risks. This will ensure that these life-saving drugs will be available for future generations.
Ms. Jenn Landers | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC
Edited by Dr. Justin Groode 

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