US Antibiotics Awareness Week exists to help raise awareness about proper antibiotic use and how we as a community can help combat antibiotic resistance.
November 18 to 24th marks the celebration of US Antibiotics Awareness Week. Recognized by the CDC, the USDA, the HHS, and the White House, US Antibiotics Awareness Week exists to help raise awareness about proper antibiotic use and how we as a community can help combat antibiotic resistance. According to the CDC, approximately 35,000 people died in 2019 as the result of about 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections. With some education and sound advice, you can help make a difference throughout this week.
What are Antibiotics?
Antibiotics were made with the intention of fighting bacterial infections in both people and animals. Usually, antibiotics can be prescribed in two main forms: orally and topically. Antibiotics are able to fight bacterial infections given that their main function is to make it harder for bacteria to multiply. In doing so, the bacterial infection can be treated. Antibiotic resistance can arise when antibiotics are taken when not needed. There are no benefits to doing so and instead, they can have side effects that leave you worse off than if you sought proper treatment from your doctor.
What can I do to make a difference?
1. Ask your doctor for treatment options when you’re sick
If you’re feeling sick and you’re unsure about what could be causing it, schedule an appointment with your doctor to diagnose your symptoms and provide the best possible treatment for you. If you have the common cold or the flu for example, your doctor can prescribe the best course of action to help you recover from those viral infections. If your doctor concludes that you are fighting a bacterial infection, then they can help guide you to the right antibiotic treatment to suit your case.
2. Follow proper instructions when prescribed antibiotics
When prescribed antibiotics, ensure that you are following the instructions given with the medication so that it can be the most effective. Some antibiotics need to be taken multiple times a day while others not so much. Some may have specific conditions you have to follow when taking them so that they can work properly. Improper antibiotic use can leave you feeling worse off so make sure to read the rules and stick to them while prescribed treatment.
3. Dispose of unused medications responsibly
After you have successfully completed treatment with antibiotics, it is important that you dispose of the medication the right way. Worst case scenario, the antibiotics end up in the wrong hands and are used for the wrong reasons. Following treatment, you should not keep leftover antibiotics or give them away to someone else. Most medications come with special instructions to ensure safe and reliable disposal, so be aware of that. If not, inquire with the location you received the medication from to see if there are any special guidelines you need to follow.
Following these steps can help make all the difference this week. To learn more, visit our other posts!