Get Smart week outlines ways to halt antibiotic resistance

November 14, 2012

During Get Smart about Antibiotics Week, Nov. 12 to 18, the Pennsylvania Department of Health in collaboration with the Department of Public Welfare, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support efforts to increase awareness about the appropriate use of antibiotics in childcare and pediatric settings.

Everyone knows that colds and other respiratory infections are caused by germs. But it is just as important to know what kind of germ. Is the infection due to bacteria or viruses, and will an antibiotic really help us get better? Antibiotics work by killing bacteria, but they do not work for viruses. Antibiotics have saved millions of lives, but these same miracle drugs are gradually losing their effectiveness. Unnecessary use contributes to the rise of resistance to antibiotics.

The power to prevent antibiotic resistance is in your hands by following these tips:

-- Antibiotics will NOT help you get over a viral infection.

-- If you are not prescribed an antibiotic, it is because your infection is most likely caused by a virus.

-- If you are prescribed an antibiotic, take it as the doctor tells you.

-- Do not skip doses even if you are feeling better. Do not save any antibiotics for the next time you get sick.

-- Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. Taking the wrong medicine may cause serious harm.

-- Protect yourself against infections. Get vaccinated for the flu and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizers to avoid spreading infections to yourself and others.

Learn more about the appropriate use of antibiotics at http://www.med.upenn.edu/antibiotics or http://knowwhentosayno.org. For more information visit http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart.

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Last Updated November 15, 2012