Antibiotic stewardship has become something of a buzz phrase in many healthcare settings. Don’t forget what it really means or what’s at stake, though. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 30% of antibiotics in the United States are prescribed unnecessarily. And for every misguided script, the risk of antibiotic resistance increases. At least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics every year in the U.S.—and 23,000 of them die as a result. Now that flu season is building, it’s likely even more patients than usual will be demanding a prescription for an antibiotic, unaware or disbelieving that they simply won’t help someone with a viral infection. The CDC has chosen November 12–18 as this year’s U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, an annual opportunity for patients across the country to receive a uniform message about responsible antibiotic use from healthcare providers. The agency works with state-based programs, as well as nonprofit and for-profit partners, to offer patient education materials, available on its Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care page. The CDC is asking all urgent care providers, and all clinicians, to share messages, images, and animated graphics through social media, and to use the hashtags #USAAW18 and #BeAntibioticsAware in every post. JUCM has covered this issue from an urgent care-specific perspective. You can read Improving Antibiotic Use for Common Clinical Conditions in Urgent Care in our archives right now.
Urgent Care Centers: Get on Message for Antibiotic Awareness Week