Be Antibiotics Aware

Be Antibiotics Aware

Memorial Health Care Systems is taking part of the Be Antibiotics Award Week initiative November 12-18, 2018.

Memorial Health Care Systems is committed to become a good steward of antibiotics by implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising patients and their families to use antibiotics only when necessary to further reduce antibiotic resistance, the spread of superbugs, and protect patients from side effects from antibiotics. During U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and throughout the year, CDC promotes Be Antibiotics Aware, an educational effort to raise awareness about the importance of safe antibiotic use.

The Be Antibiotics Aware initiative educates the public about when antibiotics are needed, when they are not, how to take antibiotics appropriately, and potential side effects of antibiotics.

CDC encourages patients and families to:

  • Get the facts about antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu, bronchitis, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green. When antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you, and the side effects could still hurt you.

  • Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about the best way to feel better.

  • While your body fights off a virus, pain relievers, fever reducers, saline nasal spray or drops, warm compresses, liquids, and rest can help you feel better.

  • If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about your antibiotics.

  • Talk with your doctor if you develop any side effects, especially severe diarrhea, since that could be a Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile or C. diff) infection, which needs to be treated.

  • Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy by cleaning hands, covering coughs, staying home when sick, and getting recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.

    CDC encourages patients and families to use the educational resources and learn more about Be Antibiotics Aware by visiting:

    Memorial Health Care Systems is participating with other providers throughout the region to become good stewards of antibiotics. Antibiotic stewardship programs are designed to strategically approach, monitor, reduce and prevent misuse and overuse of antibiotics in healthcare settings. Establishing effective antibiotic stewardship interventions can protect patients and improve clinical outcomes in outpatient healthcare settings. Overuse of antibiotics may cause immunity to the effectiveness of the drug. 

    The initiative is facilitated by the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (GPQIN), the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization for Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Education, tools and resources and technical assistance, along with best practice strategies and evidence-based resources aids participants in implementing what they have learned. Participants also have opportunities for networking, learning and sharing across organizations. More information can be found at:

    “Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Everyone can help improve antibiotic prescribing and use. Improving the way healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics, and the way we take antibiotics, helps keep us healthy now, helps fight antibiotic resistance, and ensures that these lifesaving antibiotics will be available for future generations.” Connie Novak, MD.

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Fleming-Dutra KE, Hersh AL, Shapiro DJ, et al. Prevalence of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions among U.S. ambulatory care visits, 2010-2011. JAMA 2016;315:1864-73.