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Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 6, 2005
Contact: CDC Media Relations

CDC Issues Public Reminder About Proper Antibiotic Use

As people across the United States face the coldest months of the year when many respiratory infections become more common, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding people to be cautious about their use of antibiotics. As part of this reminder, CDC is releasing a new series of print and radio public service announcements (PSAs) to raise awareness about proper antibiotic use among parents and healthy adults.

The message is part of Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work – a national campaign started one year ago by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and an alliance of partners including national health organizations and state and local health departments – to reverse public perceptions that ‘antibiotics cure everything.’

Building upon the success of Get Smart’s initial year, CDC is expanding the campaign’s focus. Several of the new ads are designed specifically to reach the Spanish-speaking Latino population. The campaign’s general audience television PSAs continue to air nationally.

“Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can cause some bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic,” says Dr. Richard Besser, director of the Get Smart campaign, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The fact is these resistant bacteria are stronger and harder to kill. They can stay in your body and cause severe illnesses that can’t be cured with antibiotics. It’s so important to get smart about antibiotic use and work with your doctor to get the right remedy.”

The awareness campaign supports a new set of guidelines recently issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), which encourage doctors to limit the use of antibiotics for treating ear infections in children. Among the recommendations, the guidelines advocate initial pain relief and observation measures first for otherwise healthy children with relatively mild ear infections if they can be assured of adequate follow-up. Antibiotics are only advised if the ear infection symptoms do not improve in two or three days.

“If you or your child gets sick, don’t use an antibiotic unless a doctor specifically prescribes one for you,” said Dr. Besser. “You should also ask your doctor or other health professionals about what you can do to feel better. There are many treatments available that can reduce your symptoms and get you back on your feet more quickly.”

The Get Smart campaign is supported by many public health groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics and Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare.

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This page last updated January 6, 2005

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