Published on November 18, 2019

Antibiotic Awareness Week  

PELLA, Iowa—November 18-24 is Antibiotic Awareness Week and Pella Regional Health Center is raising awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use. 

Antibiotics are medicines that help stop infections caused by bacteria by killing the bacteria or stopping bacteria from reproducing. When people are sick, they expect their provider to prescribe antibiotics. For certain types of infections, antibiotics are effective. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. They will not treat a viral infection, which includes the common cold, influenza and most sore throats. If patients take antibiotics when they are not necessary, it can lead to antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance happens when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. The germs are not killed and continue to grow. Antibiotic resistant bacteria can cause illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics to become untreatable, leading to dangerous infections.

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics allows the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant bacteria are left to grow and multiply. This is how repeated use of antibiotics can increase the number of drug-resistant bacteria.

“Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health,” said Tracey Campbell, PharmD, BCPS, Pharmacist at Pella Regional Health Center. “However, there are ways for patients to help prevent antibiotic resistance.”

  • Don’t take antibiotics unless you are certain you need them. Always ask your doctor if antibiotics will really help. For illnesses caused by viruses—common colds, bronchitis, and many ear and sinus infections – they won’t.
  • Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Finish the entire course, even if you begin to feel better in the first few days. Stopping early may allow for a resurgence of the infection.
  • Never save antibiotics for future illnesses or share antibiotics with someone else.
  • Stay up-to-date on vaccinations. Immunizations can protect you against some diseases that are treated with antibiotics.   

Try to prevent infection through the use of good hand hygiene. When you are sick, limit the spread of infection to others by staying home from work or school until you are feeling better.