Updated: Dec 14, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising patients and their families to use antibiotics only when necessary to further reduce antibiotic resistance, the spread of superbugs, and protect patients from side effects from antibiotics. 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 use.
The Be Antibiotics Aware initiative educates the public about when antibiotics are needed, when they are not, how to take antibiotics appropriately, and potential side effects of antibiotics.
CDC encourages patients and families to:
Get the facts about antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu, bronchitis, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green. When antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you, and the side effects could still cause harm.
Ask your healthcare professional about the most appropriate treatment for you or your loved ones’ illness. If antibiotics are not needed, ask about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.
If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
Talk with your healthcare professional if you develop any side effects, especially severe diarrhea, since that could be a Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile or C. diff) infection, which needs to be treated immediately.
Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy by cleaning hands by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; staying home when sick; and getting recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.
CDC encourages patients and families to use the educational resources and learn more about Be Antibiotics Aware by visiting: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/?s_cid=NCEZID-AntibioticUse-023.