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World Antibiotic Awareness Week November 12-18, 2018

November 6, 2018

Littleton, NH - Each November, the World Health Organization (WHO) designates a week to bring attention to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are medications providers use to treat infections such as strep throat, ear infections, and pneumonia. However, bacteria can quickly outsmart the antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance comes about when the bacteria change. The bacteria "mutate" and prevent the antibiotic from working.

The WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are doing their part to inform the public and health professionals about this important topic. The WHO has a global action plan put together by key stakeholders the world over. Their plan calls for providers to use the right antibiotic, at the right dosage, for the right length of time, and at the right time. The plan also asks providers to talk to patients so they understand when they need antibiotics. For example, if a virus is causing a sore throat, an antibiotic will not work. Giving patient-friendly information about antibiotic use is very important. It's also really important for providers to teach their patients how they can feel better without antibiotics.

Reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance takes teamwork. At a local level, the WHO advises good infection control practices in our homes and health care settings. Studies show that washing hands often is a great way to stop the spread of infections. The WHO and CDC also advise covering coughs and staying home from school or work when sick. Patients and families can also do their part by taking medication as prescribed and never sharing an antibiotic with someone else. One of the biggest factors to curb antibiotic resistance is to prevent infections in the first place. Let's all do our part. To learn more, point your browser to cdc.gov/drugresistance/.

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