Be Antibiotics Aware, Says CDC

Be Antibiotics Aware, Says CDC

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted April 23, 2018


Antibiotics are medicines that fight bacterial infections.

Antibiotics can be effective against bacterial infections, such as, strep throat and some types of pneumonia, diarrhetic diseases, and ear infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, antibiotics do not work at all against viruses, such as, viruses that cause colds or flu, cautions the CDC.

Antibiotic Prescribing and Use

At least 80 million antibiotic prescriptions each year are unnecessary, according to the CDC.

Used properly, antibiotics can save lives.

But the overuse and misuse of antibiotics helps to create drug-resistant bacteria.

For example, using antibiotics when they are not necessary can lead to bacteria that change. The bacteria become able to resist the effects of an antibiotic.

When antibiotics are overused, certain bacteria become resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics. This resistance is called, bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance.

Dangers of Drug-resistant Bacteria

Each year, drug-resistant bacteria infect more than 2 million people nationwide and kill at least 23,000, according to the CDC.

Drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and staph infections, that is, skin infections, are just a few of the dangers.

Be Antibiotics Aware

Be Antibiotics Aware, formerly called, Get Smart about Antibiotics, is a CDC national educational effort to help fight antibiotic resistance and to improve antibiotic prescribing and use.

The CDC educational effort for appropriate Antibiotic Prescribing and Use targets the following areas:

  • Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctors’ Offices and Clinics
  • Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Hospitals and Long-Term Care
  • Antibiotic Prescribing and Use on the Farm
  • U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week – 2018 November 12-18

Help to Prevent the Spread of Germs

Here are some tips to prevent the spread of germs and to use antibiotics properly.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Do not share personal items, such as, towels or razors.
  • If you are sick, talk openly with your doctor about your symptoms. Say to your doctor, Do I need an antibiotic or another type of treatment?
  • Do not pressure your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic.
  • If antibiotics are needed, use them only as directed. For example, take them for the length of time that your doctor says to take them, not for a shorter or longer length of time.
  • Do not save the antibiotic for another illness, or for another person. The antibiotic may not be the correct antibiotic or would not be a full course of treatment.
  • Talk with your doctor or nurse about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ask your doctor or nurse about a proper diet, exercise, and good hygiene.

For more information, see the Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics. General Background: When and How to Take Antibiotics.
Summary Note: APUA programs are funded through multi-year contracts and grants, professional societies, and major foundations, along with unrestricted grants from private corporations. Website explains that antibiotics are effective against bacteria, not viruses. References on Antibiotic Resistance include Articles, Books, and the Web.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Prescribing and Use. Be Antibiotics Aware.
Summary Note: Describes CDC national educational effort, called, Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care. Goal is to help fight antibiotic resistance and improve antibiotic prescribing and use. Links to Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctors’ Offices, in Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities, and on the Farm.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctors’ Offices. Common Illnesses.
Summary Note: Learn more about when antibiotics are and are not needed for several common infections.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Resistance. What CDC is Doing: AR Solutions Initiative.
Summary Note: Discusses how the CDC is Meeting National Goals to Prevent Drug-resistant Infections. Includes U.S. Congressional appropriation numbers for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Resistance Questions and Answers.
Summary Note: Answers Questions about Bacteria, Viruses, and Antibiotics. Gives examples of viral infections that should not be treated with antibiotics. Suggests what you can do, to help to prevent Antibiotic Resistance. Includes questions and answers about Antimicrobial Cleaning Agents, Acne Medication, and Probiotics.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How to Feel Better
Summary Note: Offers suggestions for what you or your child can do, to relieve some symptoms and feel better, while a viral illness runs its course. Includes tips to help relieve a sore throat, earache pain, runny nose, sinus pain, or cough.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week.
Summary Note: Describes an annual one-week observance to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of antibiotic prescribing and use.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)

Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Consumer Health. Find Out How Overuse of Antibiotics Has Increased the Number of Medication-Resistant Germs–and What You  Can Do to Help Stop this Health Threat.
Summary Note: Explains how the general public, doctors, and hospitals all play a role in ensuring proper use of medications and minimizing the development of antibiotic resistance. Encourages you to use antibiotics only as prescribed by your doctor. Cautions against pressuring your doctor to give you an antibiotic prescription.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth. The Danger of Antibiotic Overuse.
Summary Note: Website for parents. Defines the difference between Bacteria and Viruses. Explains that, because of antibiotic overuse, certain bacteria have become resistant, endangering public health. Offers tips on how to take antibiotics safely.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)

U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Antibiotic Resistance.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus topic page. Defines antibiotics as medicines that fight bacterial infections. Includes Federal Government links under categories, such as, Diagnosis and Tests, Prevention and Risk Factors, Treatments and Therapies, Videos and Tutorials, Statistics and Research, Journal Articles, and Patient Handouts.
(Accessed 20 April 2018)