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Hoosiers Encouraged To Get Smart About Antibiotics
Updated November 16, 2015 7:46 AM | Filed under: Health
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - State health officials are raising awareness of antibiotic resistance and promoting the responsible use of antibiotics during the week of November 16-22, which Governor Mike Pence has proclaimed Get Smart About Antibiotics Week.

The campaign, now in its sixth year, is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiative. The effort coordinates work of CDC's Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work campaign and enlists states, nonprofit groups and for-profit partners to improve antibiotic stewardship in communities and healthcare facilities and on the farm.

"Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health threats we face," said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. "By prescribing antibiotics responsibly, healthcare providers can help ensure that patients with bacterial infections have access to effective medications that improve their chances of recovery."

At least 2 million people in the United States become infected each year with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and an estimated 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Many others die from conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.

The CDC has deemed antibiotic resistance an urgent public health threat. According to the CDC, antibiotic use is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed medications, yet up to 50 percent of those prescribed are for people for whom they aren't appropriate or effective.

Antibiotics cure bacteria, not viruses. Taking antibiotics for viral infections, such as a cold, the flu or most types of bronchitis, will not cure the infections, keep other individuals from catching the illness or help you feel better. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases the risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.

If you are ill, check with your healthcare provider to see if an antibiotic is necessary. If so, remember these important tips:

  • When you are prescribed an antibiotic, take it exactly as the doctor tells you.
  • Complete the prescribed course even if you are feeling better. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect you.
  • Throw away any unused medication once you have completed your prescription.
  • Do not share your antibiotics with others.

State health officials are collaborating with Butler University and the Indiana Coalition for Responsible Antibiotic Use on a project to educate healthcare providers and their patients about the dangers of overprescribing and overusing antibiotics. The project includes a poster designed by Butler University student Paige Watkins that allows providers and others to post their photo and declare they are committed to using antibiotics responsibly.

"I think the poster is a great way to start conversations between prescribers and their patients about what antibiotic resistance is," said Kristen Nichols, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Butler. "It is important to have this conversation, and not only when patients feel they need an antibiotic."



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