Monday, November 12, 2018

Antibiotics Awareness Week

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment urge health care professionals to prescribe antibiotics only when necessary to help fight antibiotic resistance and the spread of superbugs, and to protect their patients from antibiotic adverse events. This week is U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, a good time to remind healthcare providers of the following guidelines:

  • Follow clinical guidelines on whether to prescribe antibiotics. When prescribing antibiotics, prescribe the right antibiotic at the right dose for the right duration at the right time.
  • Shortening the duration of antibiotic therapy to the minimum effective duration is a key antibiotic stewardship strategy in all settings of health care. The goal is to maximize the benefit to the patient by curing the infection while at the same time minimizing the risks of antibiotic resistance and side effects from antibiotics.
  • Only prescribe antibiotics when they are needed. You can do harm by prescribing antibiotics that aren’t needed.
  • Tell your patients why they don’t need antibiotics for a viral infection, what to do to feel better, and when to seek care again if they don’t feel better.
  • Talk to your patients and their families about possible harms from antibiotics, such as allergic reactions, C. difficile, and antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Watch for signs of sepsis, which can be life threatening. If you suspect sepsis, send the patient for emergency care, obtain cultures, and start antibiotics immediately.
  • Perform hand hygiene and follow infection prevention measures with every patient.
For more information on the Be Antibiotics Aware campaign, including resources to help health care professionals in inpatient and outpatient settings educate patients and families about this critical public health challenge, please go to the CDC’s Antibiotics Prescribing and Use web page. Please consider sharing information on U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and the Be Antibiotics Aware campaign with healthcare providers within your organization.

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