Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare
Wednesday, November 18, kicks off U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week 2020 and CDC encourages you to get involved! Antibiotics can save lives and are critical tools for treating infections, including those that can lead to sepsis. However, any time antibiotics are used—in people, animals, or crops—they can lead to unintended consequences, including contributing to the development of antibiotic resistance (AR). Antibiotic resistance is a One Health problem—the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment.
Sustaining antibiotic stewardship efforts is critical, especially now. AR continues to be a public health threat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spread the word about the importance of improving antibiotic prescribing and use to:
• Effectively treat infections
• Protect patients from harms caused by unnecessary and inappropriate use
• Combat AR
4 Ways You Can Get Involved in U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week
1. Jointhe Global Twitter Storm Wednesday, November 18, 9-10am EST using the hashtags #AntibioticResistance and #WAAW, and share CDC’s social media all week.
2. Use and share educational resources in CDC’s Be Antibiotics Aware Partner Toolkit for consumers, healthcare professionals, and partners. This toolkit includes social media posts and visuals, videos, key messages, and educational materials. Use and share educational resources in CDC’s Be Antibiotics Aware Partner Toolkit for consumers, healthcare professionals, and partners. This toolkit includes social media posts and visuals, videos, key messages, and educational materials.
3. Register for the CDC/Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) webinar, “Implementation of Antibiotic Stewardship Activities in Critical Access Hospitals,” on Wednesday, November 18, 3-4pm EST.
4. Check out the latest CDC Materials:
- Visit updated Be Antibiotics Aware webpages, including treatment of common illnesses.
- Read the latest stewardship report: Antibiotic Use in the United States, 2020 update: Progress and Opportunities featuring COVID-19, 2019 AU data, and data from the 2019 National Healthcare Safety Network AU option report (PDF – 14 pages).
- Check the latest report on tuberculosis in the United States in 2019, including drug-resistant TB.
This annual observance also reminds us of the importance of preserving the effectiveness of life-saving antibiotics and preventing the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections, including those spread through food. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria develop the ability to survive or grow despite being exposed to antibiotics designed to kill them and is a significant global health challenge. Antibiotic-resistant infections are harder to treat and can cause more severe infections and even death.
There are steps everyone can take to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics and prevent infections. At home, follow the four steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill. To help slow the spread of antibiotic resistance, take antibiotics only when needed and take them exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Every year, more than 660,900 people in the United States get sick from resistant Salmonella or Campylobacter—two bacteria commonly spread through food. These bacteria are becoming resistant to an increasing number of antibiotics.
Antibiotics are not usually needed to treat food poisoning, and unnecessary use of antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance. However, people who get severe infections (or those at risk of severe infections) may need antibiotics to recover. Everyone can help keep antibiotics working for when we really need them by improving antibiotic use.
We must all continue to take responsible action to protect antibiotics so that they remain effective for people and animals—using the right antibiotic, at the right time, dose, and duration. CDC thanks you for your commitment to improving antibiotic prescribing and use this week and beyond!