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October 2010
Patient Care and Science
“Get Smart” Week Urges Appropriate Antibiotic Use

When it comes to the common cold, the flu, and other viral infections, antibiotics are often the wrong prescription. During “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week,” Nov. 15-21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state officials, and other partners, including IDSA, will work to educate the public, health care providers, and pharmacists about when antibiotics can help—and how misuse of these important drugs can do more harm than good.

CDC’s website offers question-answer sheets, brochures, and posters—in both English and Spanish—to download and use with patients to help explain why antibiotics are not effective in treating viruses, the difference between viruses and bacteria, appropriate antibiotic use in children, and how bacteria develop resistance. Additional CDC materials available online include podcasts and short videos featuring medical experts answering questions from the public about antibiotics, explaining how to use antibiotics the right way, and describing how many common conditions can be overcome by simply treating the symptoms and letting the illness run its course. Other CDC resources for health care providers, including links to related treatment guidelines and continuing education opportunities, are also available online.

This year’s “Get Smart” week will coincide with two similar international events highlighting the importance of appropriate use of antibiotics, European Antibiotic Awareness Day and an observance day in Canada, both on Nov. 18.
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