Antibiotic Awareness Week: Reducing Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Awareness Week, observed November 18-24 this year, is an annual observance intended to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and to highlight the importance of appropriate antibiotic use.

Antibiotic resistance does not mean your body is resistant to the benefits of the drugs --- it means the bacteria the antibiotics are designed to fight are resistant, allowing them to survive and grow.

Millions of antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, and these infections can be difficult, sometimes impossible, to treat. More than 35,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant infections annually.

The best way to reduce antibiotic resistance is to avoid misuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics are not intended to treat viruses like those that cause colds, flu, or COVID-19, and they will not help you feel better if you take them while infected with a virus. Improper use of antibiotics can lead to anything from mild side effects to severe health issues.

To learn more about the proper use of antibiotics, please read the November message from State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris: "Take Antibiotics Only When Needed

For healthcare providers, Antibiotic Awareness Week is an opportunity to assess their practices and methods and make adjustments to improve their own antimicrobrial stewardship efforts. These efforts are necessary to improve patient outcomes, reduce antibiotic resistance, and decrease the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections.

The Alabama Infectious Disease Society has created the following infographics for healthcare professionals covering various aspects of antibiotics prescription and use: