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Get Smart About Antibiotics Week is an annual one-week observance to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use. For 2014, Get Smart Week is Nov. 17 - 23.
Picture this: Bacteria A and B are happily residing in your sinuses. Bacteria A is there to help you and claims most of the real estate available. Bacteria B is there to harm you. Your doctor prescribes 10 days of antibiotic treatment to eradicate bacteria B. By day 5, all of bacteria A and most of bacteria B are gone, and you feel better. You stop taking the antibiotic. By day 7, bacteria B that wasn’t easily killed by the antibiotic begins to thrive in the newly available real estate, creating a super bug that is now resistant to the antibiotic your doctor prescribed. On day 8, you sneeze, exposing your unfortunate coworker to the superbug you created. This story, and countless others like it, are the birth of antibiotic resistance.
World wide, bacterial infections are becoming more resistant as antibiotics are misused and overprescribed. Resistant bacterial infections often require hospitalization and can only be treated with more expensive and toxic medications.1 Each year, at least 23,000 patients die as a result of antibiotic resistance.2
In an effort to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance, a multidisciplinary approach is underway in the USA Health System. USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital created an Antibiotic Stewardship Committee which has been meeting monthly since January 2014. Members gather to discuss antibiotic use within the hospital and explore options to track and assess current antibiotic use, which enables them to appropriately manage future therapies. July 2014 marked the beginning of a biweekly review of all inpatients on antibiotics to assess therapy and its alignment with the 4 D’s of antibiotic stewardship3:
During the week of November 17-23, 2014, USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital will be participating in a national initiative created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called Get Smart About Antibiotics Week. Promoting awareness about appropriate antibiotic use and healthy habits is key to fighting resistance and life-threatening infections. During Get Smart Week, materials published by the CDC will be distributed to local physicians, patients and parents. An information table will be open near the cafeteria of Children’s and Women’s Hospital each day from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This time will allow for parents and patients to gain understanding in the importance of appropriate antibiotic use.
You can become a resistance fighter, too! Remember that antibiotics are only prescribed to treat bacterial infections, not viruses. Sore throats, green mucus and some ear infections do not require antibiotics.4 Let your doctor make the call! Always follow these simple guidelines when your doctor prescribes an antibiotic5:
The USA Health System is taking steps to reduce antibiotic resistance and encourages you to do the same! For more information, visit the CDC’s website for Get Smart Week.
1. Get Smart: know when antibiotics work [Internet]. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); 2011. Fast Facts; 2013 Nov 4 [cited 2014 Oct 27]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/fast-facts.html - ref5
2. Get Smart: graphics [Internet]. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); 2014. Annual burden of antibiotic resistance in the United States; 2014 Oct 21 [cited 2014 Oct 27]; [about 1 screen]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/week/promotional-materials/graphics.html
3. Doron S, Davidson LE. Antimicrobial Stewardship. Mayo Clin Proc. 2011 Nov;88(11):1113-1123.
4. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pub ID: 221259.
5. Get Smart: know when antibiotics work. Pad – antibiotic prescription adherence pad (pharmacists, patients, English, 4x6, 50 sheets/pad). Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pub ID 999487.
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