CDC Starts Get Smart About Antibiotics Week

Today through Friday, antibiotic resistance and the necessity of proper usage are Topic A for the agency.

"What do sinusitis, most sore throats, bronchitis, runny noses and the regular cold have in common? They are upper respiratory tract infections usually caused by viruses that can't be cured with antibiotics. Yet, each year, health care providers in the U.S. prescribe tens of millions of antibiotics for viral infections." Those are the opening words of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's announcement of its Get Smart About Antibiotics Week (Oct. 6-10), which will highlight how various groups are educating the public about antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic use.

"Antibiotic overuse is a serious problem and a threat to everyone's health," said Dr. Lauri Hicks, medical director of CDC's "Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work" program. The problem is multi-faceted: Over-prescribing contributes, as do using a broad-spectrum therapy when a more specific drug would be better, starting and stopping medications, and giving leftover medications to a friend who appears to have the same ailment you had, she said.

"As we enter this year's cold and flu season, we ask parents to not insist on getting antibiotics when a health care provider says they are not needed," said Hicks. "If you have a cold or the flu, antibiotics won't work for you." People need to be patient and let the body do its work, she explained.

The campaign will include advertisements, fact sheets, brochures, posters, radio and print public service announcements, podcasts, and media interviews. To download free campaign materials, visit this site.

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