Let’s “Get Smart About Antibiotics” Week

Posted in News Release

WASHINGTON (Nov. 14, 2016) — The discovery of antibiotics remains one of the most important medical advances to date, but overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics has led to many infections becoming resistant to treatment.

According the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Antibiotic resistant infections threaten the very medical miracles and health care system that we have come to depend on.

For this reason, the physicians, nurses, microbiologists, pharmacists and infection control specialists who make up the National Capital Region Organized Against Resistance (ROAR) remind everyone that antibiotic resistance is a significant health crisis and one that everyone can help prevent.

To mark national “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week” Nov. 14- 20, 2016 ROAR shares the following tips about appropriate use of antibiotics:

1)   Do not request or insist on antibiotics if you or your child has a common cold or flu. These are caused by viruses and should not be treated with antibiotics, which do not work for viruses.

2)   Keep in mind: overuse or inappropriate use of antibiotics can promote resistance leaving those very drugs useless;

3)   Antibiotics may cause serious side effects;

4)  The best way to avoid the flu is through getting vaccinated and you can reduce your and everyone’s risks of flu and colds through common sense measures like handwashing and covering your cough;

5)   If you’ve been diagnosed with an infection, talk to your healthcare professional about whether antibiotics are needed or if there are other ways to treat your condition;

6)   If an antibiotic is prescribed, take it as directed.

“The spread of highly resistant bacteria threatens the medical care that we take for granted every day,” explains infectious disease specialist Jesse Goodman, MD, MPH, who coordinates ROAR’s activities from his Georgetown University Medical Center office. “Reducing unneeded antibiotic use is the most important single thing we can do to increase resistance. Without concerted action we will face the specter of highly resistant, even untreatable, infections not just in health care settings but in our communities, from sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea to extremely drug resistant TB.”

To learn more about antibiotic resistance in the Washington region or about ROAR’s effort to combat resistance, please request an interview with an infection control specialist by contacting Karen Teber at km463@georgetown.edu.

For graphics and other visuals, please check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

About ROAR:
ROAR is a ground-up effort engaging experts who work day-to-day combatting resistance in their facilities. We are physicians, pharmacists, administrators, infection preventionists, and microbiologists. Our members come from eleven hospitals, all four DC-area medical schools, and two major regional health systems. We partner with public health and other healthcare stakeholders to improve the way we prevent and respond to antibiotic resistance in the National Capital Region.