HAP's Latest News

Are You Using Antibiotics Correctly?

November 22, 2021

The improper use of antibiotics is a “global health and development threat,” the World Health Organization said last week.

During Antibiotic Awareness Week, HAP joins infectious disease experts around the world highlighting the importance of appropriate antibiotic use to combat the threat of antibiotic resistance. The weeklong event from November 18–24 encourages everyone to “Be Antibiotics Aware.

“Every year, more than three million people in the United States are infected—and nearly 50,000 are killed—by an antibiotic-resistant germ or an infection that can occur after taking antibiotics,” the White House said in a recent proclamation. “Because most of these cases occur as a result of improper antibiotic use, it is essential that these drugs are used appropriately and only when necessary.”

During this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is highlighting these important messages about antibiotic awareness:

  • Antibiotics can save lives:  Antibiotics can be a life-saving tool for clinicians to treat patients with infections caused by certain bacteria
  • Antibiotics do not treat viruses:  Antibiotics are not useful in the treatment of colds, the flu, or COVID-19
  • Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain bacterial infections:  Even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics
  • An antibiotic will not make you feel better if you have a virus:  Ask your health care professional about your treatment options while your body fights off a virus. Reach out to your provider if you have any questions about your course of treatment or if you develop any side effects
  • Importance of stewardship:  If antibiotics lose their effectiveness, then we lose the ability to treat infections, including those leading to sepsis

HAP’s Quality Initiatives Department is dedicated to supporting Pennsylvania’s hospitals as they develop infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship programs. Resources and messaging about Antibiotics Awareness Week from the CDC are available online.

For more information or questions about Antibiotic Awareness Week, contact Mary Catanzaro and Clare Edelmayer, project managers, infection prevention.