Appropriate antibiotics use ensures continued effectiveness.
The Tennessee Department of Health is recognizing the critical importance of antibiotics to public health during Antibiotic Awareness Week, Nov. 18 to Nov. 24, 2022, and encouraging Tennesseans to avoid overuse of the infection-fighting drugs.
“Antibiotics fight bacteria to stop serious infections and save lives,” said TDH Commissioner Dr. Morgan McDonald, MD, FACP, FAAP. “If you take antibiotics when it isn’t necessary or don’t take them as directed, you can destroy the good bacteria your body needs to prevent illness in the first place. You also increase your risk of becoming ill from infections that won’t respond to antibiotic treatment at all.”
Antibiotic resistance poses a serious threat to public health when bacteria won’t respond to the drugs designed to stop their spread. More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result, according to the CDC.
TDH’s program for Healthcare Associated Infections/Antimicrobial Resistance (HAI/AR) recommends Tennesseans follow some best practices when prescribed antibiotics:
• Take antibiotics exactly as directed, and complete treatment even when you feel better.
• Talk with your healthcare provider if you develop any side effects.
• Discuss over-the-counter remedies that may improve symptoms with your provider or pharmacist.
• Remember, antibiotics are not needed to treat viruses like cold and flu.
• Keep yourself and others healthy by washing your hands, staying home when sick, and getting recommended vaccines.
“Antibiotics can and do save lives,” said HAI/AR Director Dr. Christopher Wilson, MD, MPH. “Tennesseans can help us protect their health by following their prescriber’s recommendations regarding antibiotics, and understanding antibiotics are not necessarily needed to treat all infections.”
Visit TDH’s Healthcare Associated Infection/Antimicrobial Resistance Program for additional information and resources.