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Be Antibiotics Aware: Protect Your Patient

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging 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. During U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and throughout the year, CDC promotes Be Antibiotics Aware, an educational effort to raise awareness about the importance of safe antibiotic prescribing and use.

The Be Antibiotics Aware initiative provides resources to help improve antibiotic prescribing among healthcare professionals and use among consumers.

CDC’s Be Antibiotics Aware educational effort encourages healthcare professionals to:

  • Follow clinical guidelines on whether to prescribe antibiotics and when prescribing antibiotics, to 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.
  • Protect your patients. 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.

Be Antibiotics Aware has resources to help health care professionals (in outpatient and inpatient settings) educate patients and families about antibiotic use and risks for potential side effects. For more information visit: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/?s_cid=NCEZID-AntibioticUse-005.

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