Get Smart about Antibiotics

Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer

November 12-18, 2012 is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week

Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses like colds, most sore throats and bronchitis, and some ear infections. Unneeded antibiotics may lead to future antibiotic-resistant infections. Symptom relief might be the best treatment option.

Dangers of Antibiotic Resistance

Colds and many other upper respiratory infections, as well as some ear infections, are caused by viruses, not bacteria. If antibiotics are used too often for things they can’t treatlike colds or other viral infectionsthey can stop working effectively against bacteria when you or your child really needs them. Antibiotic resistancewhen antibiotics can no longer cure bacterial infectionshas been a concern for years and is considered one of the world’s most critical public health threats.

CDC efforts have resulted in fewer children receiving unnecessary antibiotics in recent years, but inappropriate use remains a problem. Widespread overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics continues to fuel an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. So the next time you or your child really needs an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, it may not work.

Antibiotic resistance is also an economic burden on the entire healthcare system. Resistant infections cost more to treat and can prolong healthcare use.

If You or Your Child Has a Virus like a Cold or Sore Throat

Did you know?

· Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health threats.

· Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat life-threatening bacterial disease, but using antibiotics can also result in side effects.

· Antibiotic use leads to new drug-resistant germs and increased risks to patients.

· Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators and policy makers must work together to employ safe and effective strategies for improving antibiotic useultimately saving lives.

Taking antibiotics when you or your child has a virus may do more harm than good. In fact, in children, antibiotics are the most common cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug events. Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter products may be your or your child’s best treatment option.

Get smart about when antibiotics are appropriateto fight bacterial infections. Taking them for viral infections, such as a cold, most sore throats, acute bronchitis and many sinus or ear infections:

· Will not cure the infection;

· Will not keep other people from getting sick;

· Will not help you or your child feel better; and

· May cause unnecessary and harmful side effects.

What Not to Do

· Do not demand antibiotics when a doctor says they are not needed.

· Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or most sore throats.

· Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. The antibiotic may not be appropriate for you or your child’s illness. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.

If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for bacterial infection:

· Do not skip doses.

· Do not save any of the antibiotics for the next time you or your child gets sick.

What to Do

Just because your doctor doesn’t give you an antibiotic doesn’t mean you aren’t sick.

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for you or your child’s illness. To feel better when you or your child has an upper respiratory infection:

· Ask your doctor or community pharmacist about over-the-counter treatment options that may help you or your child feel better;

· Increase fluid intake;

· Get plenty of rest;

· Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion; and

· Soothe a throat with ice chips, sore throat spray, or lozenges (do not give lozenges to young

For Immediate Release: Media contacts: Aimee Barabe

November 12, 2012 Cell: 505-470-2290

Department of Health Supports Get Smart about Antibiotics Week

(Santa Fe) The New Mexico Department of Health is part of a national campaign, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called Get Smart about Antibiotics. The campaign is being featured nationally this week with its messaging intended to educate the public and healthcare providers about the importance of using antibiotic medications wisely. Antibiotics are an essential tool to combat life-threatening bacterial diseases. However, when antibiotics are taken unnecessarily, they can do more harm than good. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces or eliminates their effectiveness and it has become a pressing public health threat. Healthcare providers, patients, policy makers and others must work together to improve appropriate antibiotic use to improve patient safety and save lives.

The New Mexico Department of Health Healthcare-associated Infections Program and the New Mexico Healthcare-associated Infections Advisory Committee work closely with healthcare facilities, providers and the public to monitor and reduce healthcare-associated infections. For example, the current Clostridium difficile Infections Prevention Project is working with healthcare facilities to prevent this potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. One aspect of the prevention project focuses on the appropriate use of antibiotics.

The New Mexico Department of Health recommends:

· Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Do not skip doses or stop early, even if you start feeling better.

· Take antibiotics only that have been prescribed for you. Do not share or use leftover antibiotics.

· Prevent infections by practicing good hand hygiene and getting recommended vaccines. Remember that antibiotics dont cure the flu and that vaccinations are now available for the current flu season.

· Do not ask for antibiotics when your healthcare provider thinks you do not need them. Remember that antibiotics have side effects and that when you dont need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good.

For more information regarding proper antibiotic use, visit the New Mexico Department of Healths website at

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau


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