It's Time to Get Smart about the Use of Antibiotics
Sinusitis, most sore throats, bronchitis, runny noses and the regular cold are
upper respiratory tract infections usually caused by viruses that can't
be cured with antibiotics. Yet, each year, healthcare providers in the
U.S. prescribe tens of millions of antibiotics for viral infections.
attention to this increasing problem, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) will be observing the Get Smart About Antibiotics
Week Oct. 6-10. The campaign will highlight the coordinated efforts of
the agency, states, non-profit partners, and for-profit partners to
educate the public about antibiotic resistance and the importance of
appropriate antibiotic use.
overuse is a serious problem and a threat to everyone's health," said
Dr. Lauri Hicks, medical director of CDC's Get Smart: Know When
Antibiotics Work program. Over-prescribing antibiotics, using a
broad-spectrum therapy when a more specific drug would be better,
starting and stopping medications, giving leftover medications to a
friend who appears to have the same ailment you had, all contribute to
the problem of antibiotic drug resistance, according to Hicks.
"As we enter
this year's cold and flu season, we ask parents to not insist on
getting antibiotics when a health care provider says they are not
needed," said Hicks. "If you have a cold, or the flu, antibiotics won't
work for you."
Hicks antibiotics kill bacteria, not the viruses that cause colds or
flu, most coughs and bronchitis, sore throats not caused by strep, and
runny noses. Taking antibiotics when you don't need them or not as
prescribed increases your risk of getting an infection later that
resists antibiotic treatment. If the health care provider’s
recommendation is to wait- wait. People need to be patient and let the
body do its work.
asks healthcare providers to take the time to educate their patients
about antibiotic resistance and the possibility of having serious side
effects. For example, allergic reactions to antibiotics, such as rash
and anaphylaxis, send thousands of patients to the emergency room each
year, according to a recent study published in the Clinical Infectious
prevent illness, Hicks encourages people to wash their hands
frequently, get the flu vaccine and avoid close contact with people who
will reach out to parents and health care providers through
advertisements, fact sheets, brochures, posters, radio and print public
service announcements, podcasts, and mainstream media interviews.
For more information or to download free campaign materials, visit www.cdc.gov/getsmart.