U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW) is an annual observance that highlights the steps everyone can take to improve antibiotic prescribing and use. U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is November 18-24, 2020. Antibiotics can save lives and are critical tools for treating a number of common and more serious infections, like those that can lead to sepsis.
Antibiotics can save lives and are critical tools for treating a number of common and more serious infections, like those that can lead to sepsis. At least 28% of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. outpatient settings are unnecessary and each year, enough prescriptions are written in outpatient settings to give five out of every six people one antibiotic prescription.
Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.
Antibiotic resistance happens when germs, like bacteria and fungi, develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. Each year in the United States, more than 2.8 million infections from bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics occur and more than 35,000 people die as a direct result. Many more die from complications from antibiotic-resistant infections.
Improving the way healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics, and the way we take antibiotics, helps keep us healthy now, helps fight antibiotic resistance, and ensures that these life-saving drugs will be available for future generations.
USAAW is a collaboration of CDC, state-based programs, nonprofit partners, and for-profit partners. You can join official USAAW events or host your own. There are many ways to get involved!
How To Participate
- Share social media messages, images, and animated graphics on your organization’s social media channels. Remember to use #USAAW20 and #BeAntibioticsAware in every post
- Include information about Be Antibiotics Aware and U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week in your organization’s print and e-newsletters.
- Print and share handouts and posters with patients and healthcare professionals. Select items are now available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean.
- Play videos (available in English and Spanish) on iPads and TV screens in your medical office, pharmacy, waiting room, or lobby.
CDC encourages patients and families to:
- Get the facts about antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu, bronchitis, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green. When antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you, and the side effects could still cause harm.
- Ask your healthcare professional about the most appropriate treatment for you or your loved ones’ illness. If antibiotics are not needed, ask about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.
- If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
- Talk with your healthcare professional if you develop any side effects, especially severe diarrhea, since that could be a Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile or C. diff) infection, which needs to be treated immediately.
- Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy by cleaning hands by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; staying home when sick; and getting recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.
CDC encourages patients and families to use the educational resources and learn more about Be Antibiotics Aware by visiting: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/?s_cid=NCEZID-AntibioticUse-023.