Celebrate US Antibiotic Awareness Week with the CDC

The CDC encourages health care professionals to get involved in antibiotic resistance awareness.

Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW) 2021 in the US kicks off this Thursday, November 18, and runs through November 24. The CDC is encouraging health care professionals to spread the word about antibiotic resistance.1

Antibiotics can save lives, but with each use they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance. Despite advances in new antibiotics, antibiotic resistance remains a critical concern in the US; data show that that the problem has increased in recent years. Each year in the US, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections and 35,000 deaths occur.

Related: The Cost of Antibiotic Resistance

Pharmacists are well positioned to confront antibiotic resistance by helping prevent infections and their spread and improving antibiotic prescribing practices. Following infection and prevention control guidelines and clinical and treatment guidelines are 2 important ways that pharmacies are able to support the CDC initiative.

To bring awareness to the public and address inappropriate antibiotic use, pharmacists should participate in USAAW and counsel their patients on:

  • Preventing infections
  • Keeping scrapes and wounds clean
  • Managing chronic conditions
  • Seeking medical care when an infection is not getting better
  • Understanding when antibiotics are needed

USAAW has plenty of opportunities for pharmacists to get involved in, including a global Twitter Storm on Thursday, November 18, 10-11 AM ET using the hashtags #WAAW and #AntibioticResistance. The CDC has provided ideas for social media posts that promote antibiotic resistance awareness and address common antibiotic misconceptions. Pharmacies can also print, distribute, and display posters and brochures that distinguish between illness that do and do not require antibiotics.

The CDC is offering 2 webinars for USAAW:

  1. November 17, 3-4 PM ET: Enhancing antibiotic stewardship programs in critical access hospitals
  2. November 18, 2-3 pm ET: What clinicians, pharmacists, and public health partners need to know about antibiotic prescribing and COVID-19

Pharmacists can learn more about this year’s USAAW campaign here.

Reference

  1. US Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW). CDC. Accessed November 15, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/week/index.html