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Infirmary Health partners with CDC for U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week 2023

U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is an annual one-week observance, beginning on November 18, that gives Infirmary Health, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of appropriate antibiotic use to combat the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Antibiotics can save lives and are critical tools for treating common and serious infections, Any time antibiotics or antifungals are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.

Infirmary Health's Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacy team is dedicated to improving how healthcare professionals prescribe and how patients take antibiotics to help keep patients healthy from adverse events, fight antimicrobial resistance and help ensure these life-saving drugs will be available for future generations.

Six facts the CDC wants you to know about antibiotic and antifungal use:

Antimicrobial resistance (AR) can affect people at any stage of life. Many risks for antimicrobial-resistant infections are tied to social determinants of health - where you live, environmental exposures, how often you engage with health care, quality of care received and socioeconomic and other factors that contribute to disparities in health outcomes.

Antibiotics DO NOT work on viruses, including those that cause colds, flu, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) or COVID-19.

Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria and antifungals are used to kill fungi. Antimicrobial resistance means the germ causing an infection has become resistant to the antibiotic or antifungal treatment. Antimicrobial-resistant infections can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat.

Taking an antibiotic or antifungal when you don’t need one won’t help you feel better and the side effects could still cause harm. Work with your healthcare provider or veterinarian to find the best treatment when you, your family or an animal is sick. Antibiotics and antifungals aren’t always the answer.

Antibiotics and antifungals can save lives but can also cause harm. When prescribed, take antibiotics and antifungals exactly as directed. Don’t share your antibiotics or antifungals with others or save them for later. Don’t take antibiotics and antifungals prescribed for someone else. Taking the right drug at the right time helps combat antimicrobial resistance.

Everyone plays a part in combating antimicrobial resistance. Germs will continue to change and adapt but prevention actions can help slow their development and spread. Wash your hands, stay up to date on recommended vaccines, prepare food safely, prevent sexually transmitted diseases and only use antibiotics and antifungals as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

For more information, resources and education, visit Infirmary Health's Antimicrobial Stewardship Program page