Think twice before you take those antibiotics

The CDC has declared this week, November 14 – 20, 2011, Get Smart About Antibiotics Week.  The annual week is designed to raise awareness that antibiotics aren’t always a good thing…in fact, if not used correctly they can actually have deadly consequences.

According to the CDC, if antibiotics are used too often for things they can’t treat—like colds or other viral infections—they can stop working effectively against bacteria when you or your child really needs them.  Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections, and when you use them too often or when they aren’t useful, you can create antibiotic resistance and new drug resistant germs.

Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat life-threatening bacterial disease, and when they no longer work, lives are put at risk.

How can you help prevent antibiotic resistance?

  • Do not demand antibiotics when a doctor says they are not needed.
  • Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or most sore throats.
  • Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. The antibiotic may not be appropriate for your or your child’s illness. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.
  • If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for bacterial infection, do not skip doses or save any of the antibiotics for the next time you or your child gets sick.

What is Botsford doing to help prevent antibiotic resistance?

As Janet Moody, our infection control coordinator explains, Botsford Hospital takes antibiotic use very seriously and closely monitors both the bugs that we see as well as the antibiotics used to treat them.  Here are some examples of what Botsford does to prevent and control antibiotic use:

  • Figure out exactly what bacteria are causing an infection and give a specific antibiotic therapy that’s targeted to that bug.
  • Monitor trends in antibiotic resistance and adjust antibiotics accordingly.
  • Watch dosing very carefully to make sure patients never get any more or less than they need.
  • While patients are in the hospital, we have many initiatives to prevent infections from occurring in the first place – so antibiotics aren’t needed.
  • Physicians who specialize in infections diseases are called upon to advise on antibiotic selection, dose and duration.

The bottom line: If you’re sick, talk to your doctor and let her determine the best course of treatment.

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