Be Antibiotics Aware Partner Toolkit

Key Messages
Messages for U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week
  • U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is an annual one-week observance that gives participating organizations an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of appropriate antibiotic use to combat the threat of antibiotic resistance.
  • Be Antibiotics Aware, a CDC educational effort, complements U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week by providing partners with up-to-date information to help improve human antibiotic prescribing and use in the United States.
Messages for Consumers
  • Antibiotics can save lives. When a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects and antibiotic resistance.
  • Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Everyone can help improve antibiotic prescribing and use. 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 antibiotics will be available for future generations.
  • 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.
  • Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics. Antibiotics aren’t needed for many sinus infections and some ear infections. Antifungal drugs treat fungal infections.
  • An antibiotic will not make you feel better if you have a virus. Respiratory viruses usually go away in a week or two without treatment. Ask your healthcare professional about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.
  • When antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you, and the side effects could still cause harm. Side effects range from minor to very severe health problems. When you need antibiotics for a bacterial infection, the benefits usually outweigh the risk of side effects.
  • Taking antibiotics can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance occurs when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. If antibiotics lose their effectiveness, then we lose the ability to treat infections, like those that lead to sepsis.
  • 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
Messages for Healthcare Professionals - Outpatient HCPs
  • Antibiotics are only needed to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, not viruses like SARS-CoV-2. Only prescribe antibiotics when they are clinically indicated. You can do harm by prescribing antibiotics when they are not needed.
  • Tell your patients why they don’t need antibiotics for a viral respiratory infection, what to do to feel better, and when to seek care again if they don’t feel better.
  • Always prescribe the right antibiotic, at the right dose, for the right duration, and at the right time.
    • Using the shortest effective duration of antibiotic therapy is a key antibiotic stewardship strategy in all health care settings. The goal is to optimize the treatment of the infection while minimizing the risks of side effects from antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.
  • Talk to patients and their families about possible harms from antibiotics, such as allergic reactions, C. difficile. and antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Educate your patients and their families to recognize the signs and symptoms of worsening infection and sepsis, and to know when to seek medical care.
  • If sepsis is suspected, gather patient information and immediately communicate it to hospital healthcare professionals. Antibiotics should be started as soon as possible when sepsis is suspected.
Messages for Healthcare Professionals - Inpatient & Long-Term Care HCPs
  • Antibiotics are only needed to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, not viruses like SARS-CoV-2. Only prescribe antibiotics when they are clinically indicated. You can do harm by prescribing antibiotics when they are not needed.
    • Patients with asymptomatic bacteriuria should not be treated with antibiotics in most cases.
  • Optimizing the use of diagnostic tests is critical for improving treatment of conditions like sepsis and stopping the spread of infections, including those caused by SARS-CoV-2.
  • Always remember to prescribe the right antibiotic, at the right dose, for the right duration, and at the right time.
    • Reassess antibiotic therapy to stop or tailor treatment based on the patient/resident’s clinical condition and diagnostic test results as appropriate.
    • Use of the shortest effective duration of antibiotic therapy is a key antibiotic stewardship strategy. Optimizing duration of therapy, especially in care transitions, is an important target for improvement.
Supporting Messages - Antibiotic Resistance
  • Antibiotics can save lives, but any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance.
  • Antibiotic resistance happens when germs, like bacteria and fungi, develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. That means the germs are not killed and continue to grow.
  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.
  • More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. (See Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance (AR / AMR))
  • Antibiotic resistance does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antibiotics; it means bacteria that live in and on our bodies develop the ability to defeat the antibiotics designed to kill them.
  • When bacteria become resistant, antibiotics cannot fight them, and the bacteria multiply.
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat.
  • Antibiotic-resistant germs can quickly spread across settings, including communities, the food supply, healthcare facilities, the environment (e.g., soil, water), and around the world. Antibiotic resistance is a One Health problem—the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment (soil, water).
Supporting Messages - Antibiotic Use
  • Antibiotics can save lives and are critical tools for treating infections, like those that can lead to sepsis. However, any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance.
  • Reactions from antibiotics cause 1 out of 5 medication-related visits to the ER.
  • In children, reactions from antibiotics are the most common cause of medication-related ER visits.
  • Common side effects of antibiotics can include rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections.
  • More serious side effects include:
    • C. difficile infection (also called C. diff.) causes severe diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.
    • Severe and life-threatening allergic reactions, such as wheezing, hives, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis (which also includes feeling that your throat is closing or choking, or your voice is changing).
  • Some types of antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones, can be associated with serious side effects including life-threatening C. difficile infection.
  • Antibiotic use can also disrupt the human microbiome, the community of naturally occurring germs in and on the body. A healthy microbiome is important for staying healthy and preventing disease.
    • Your body needs bacteria to function normally. When a patient takes antibiotics, these drugs kill the infection-causing “bad” germs, but “good” germs that protect against infection can also be destroyed at the same time.
    • It can take weeks to months for these “good” bacteria to return.
    • A disrupted microbiome can put people at risk for getting some types of infection, such as C. difficile.
  • Because antibiotics have the potential to cause harm, they should be prescribed when their benefits outweigh the potential risks. This will ensure that these life-saving drugs will be available for future generations.
Newsletters

How to use: Insert the following pre-approved content into your newsletters, blogs, and other publications.

Article Targeting Patients / Families

CDC advises patients and their families to Be Antibiotics Aware

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising patients and their families to use antibiotics only when necessary to further reduce antibiotic resistance, the spread of superbugs, and protect patients from side effects from antibiotics. During U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and throughout the year, CDC promotes Be Antibiotics Aware, an educational effort to raise awareness about the importance of safe antibiotic use.

The Be Antibiotics Aware initiative educates the public about when antibiotics are needed, when they are not, how to take antibiotics appropriately, and potential side effects of antibiotics.

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.

Article Targeting Healthcare Professionals

Be Antibiotics Aware: Protect your patient

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging healthcare professionals to prescribe antibiotics only when necessary to help fight antibiotic resistance and the spread of superbugs and to protect their patients from antibiotic-related adverse drug events. During U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and throughout the year, CDC promotes Be Antibiotics Aware, an educational effort to raise awareness about the importance of safe antibiotic prescribing and use.

The Be Antibiotics Aware initiative provides resources to help improve antibiotic prescribing among healthcare professionals and use among consumers.

CDC’s Be Antibiotics Aware educational effort encourages healthcare professionals to:

  • Only prescribe antibiotics when they are clinically indicated. Antibiotics are only needed to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, not viruses like SARS-CoV-2. You can do harm by prescribing antibiotics when they are not needed.
  • Follow clinical guidelines on how best to evaluate and treat infections.
  • Optimizing the use of diagnostic tests is critical for improving treatment of conditions like sepsis and stopping the spread of infections, including those caused by SARS-CoV-2.
  • Always prescribe the right antibiotic, at the right dose, for the right duration, and at the right time.
    • Using the shortest effective duration of antibiotic therapy is a key antibiotic stewardship strategy in all health care settings. The goal is to optimize the treatment of the infection while minimizing the risks of side effects from antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.
  • Only prescribe antibiotics when they are needed. You can do harm by prescribing antibiotics that aren’t needed.
  • Tell your patients why they don’t need antibiotics for a viral respiratory infection, what to do to feel better, and when to seek care again if they don’t feel better.
  • Talk to your patients and their families about possible harms from antibiotics, such as allergic reactions, C. difficile, and antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Educate your patients and their families to recognize the signs and symptoms of worsening infection and sepsis, and to know when to seek medical care.
  • If sepsis is suspected, gather patient information and immediately communicate it to hospital healthcare professionals. Antibiotics should be started as soon as possible when sepsis is suspected.

Be Antibiotics Aware has resources to help healthcare professionals (in outpatient and inpatient settings) educate patients and families about antibiotic use and risks for potential side effects. For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/?s_cid=NCEZID-AntibioticUse-005.

Social Media

Copy and paste these social media messages. Use #BeAntibioticsAware in any messages you share.

Repost CDC social media messages about Be Antibiotics Aware. Visit @CDCgov and @CDC_NCEZID on Twitter, and CDC’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages.

Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter Sample Posts

#BeAntibioticsAware helps #patients, caregivers, families, and #healthcare professionals improve antibiotic prescribing and use. Learn more. http://bit.ly/2xJqbSwexternal icon #USAAW20

#Antibiotics aren’t needed for and won’t help colds, #flu, bronchitis, and runny noses. Visit @CDCgov’s website to learn more. http://bit.ly/2Ic6XK7external icon #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW20

Being #antibiotics aware = knowing that antibiotics aren’t needed for many #sinus infections and some ear #infections. http://bit.ly/2P5PNS5external icon #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW20

Have a #virus (cold, #flu)? You can feel better without #antibiotics. Ask your #healthcare professional or #pharmacist about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus. http://bit.ly/2P5PNS5external icon #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW20

When it comes to health, we all want to use the right tool for the job. Talk to your healthcare professional about being #antibiotics aware. http://bit.ly/2NcGbCRexternal icon #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW20

During U.S. #AntibioticAwareness Week, #BeAntibioticsAware and learn when #antibiotics are needed and when they’re not. http://bit.ly/2pqmmxCexternal icon #USAAW20

When #antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you, and the side effects could still cause harm. Learn more. http://bit.ly/2pqmmxCexternal icon #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW20

Healthcare Professionals: Give your #patients the BEST care by following #clinical guidelines when prescribing #antibiotics. https://bit.ly/33UNUiCexternal icon #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW20

We’re proud to be a #BeAntibioticsAware partner for U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week! Learn how you can participate: https://bit.ly/3042qDwexternal icon #USAAW20

We are antibiotics aware! During U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, check out what our organization is doing to improve antibiotic prescribing and use: http://bit.ly/35zqDmqexternal icon #USAAW20 #BeAntibioticsAware

Patients! Don’t ask for #antibiotics for viruses, like those that cause cold and flu. Instead, ask your #healthcare professional or #pharmacist how to feel better. http://bit.ly/2P5PNS5external icon #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW20

Taking #antibiotics only when needed is one thing you can do to help fight antibiotic resistance. http://bit.ly/2IerL3Iexternal icon #USAAW20 #BeAntibioticsAware #AntibioticResistance

The best health care starts with using “The Right Tool” for the job. http://bit.ly/2NcGbCRexternal icon #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW20

Healthcare Professionals: #BeAntibioticsAware by telling #patients why they don’t need antibiotics for a #virus. http://bit.ly/2C2jAoBexternal icon #USAAW20

Patients: Learn what you can do at home and at the clinic to #BeAntibioticsAware. http://bit.ly/2C2jAoBexternal icon #USAAW20

Parents/caregivers: Have a sick child? Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Use the right tool: http://bit.ly/2NcGbCRexternal icon #USAAW20 #BeAntibioticsAware

Without #antibiotics, treating people with cancer & undergoing surgery becomes much harder. http://bit.ly/2pqmmxCexternal icon #USAAW20 #BeAntibioticsAware

Healthcare Professionals: #Antibiotics are critical tools for treating life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia and sepsis. If you suspect sepsis, start antibiotics immediately. #BeAntibioticsAware http://bit.ly/2C2jAoBexternal icon #USAAW20

#Antibiotics are critical tools for treating life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia and sepsis. Get medical care immediately if you suspect #sepsis. #BeAntibioticsAware http://bit.ly/2pqmmxCexternal icon #USAAW20

Any time #antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to #AntibioticResistance. #BeAntibioticsAware! http://bit.ly/2pqmmxCexternal icon #USAAW20

Twitter Storm

Twitter Storm graphic.  Join us for the global #AntibioticResistance Twitter Storm.

Our global Twitter Storm is on Wednesday, November 18, from 9 AM EST – 10 AM EST.

We will plan to send out approximately 13 tweets from our @CDCgov, @CDC_NCEZID, & @DrKhabbazCDC Twitter handles.

We will push out a tweet every 5 minutes during the hour, starting with this tweet at 9 AM EST: #AntibioticResistance is one of the most urgent global threats to the public’s health. Any time #antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance. #WAAW

We encourage you to tweet the above message from your organization’s Twitter handle at 9 AM EST to start off the Twitter Storm and use the following hashtags in all of your tweets: #AntibioticResistance and #WAAW.

Social Media Visuals

Images Sized for Social Media

Instagram Animations (MP4)

Facebook / Twitter Animations (GIF)

Video for Social Media

Web Images

How to use: Post and share these graphics with our sample social media messages on your social media channels, and on your blogs and websites.

Infographics

How to use: Share these graphics using social media, add to e-newsletters, use in presentations, and post to blogs and websites.

Public Service Announcements (PSA)

How to use: Share these “The Right Tool” video and radio PSAs to spread the word about Be Antibiotics Aware by using antibiotics only when needed. Post them to your social media pages, add the link to your blog post, or play it in waiting rooms. Make sure antibiotics are the right tool for the job! The PSAs are free to use in any communications channel and available in Spanish.

TV / Internet

Radio

2 Kids watching mom prep food with a power drill

The Right Tool [30 seconds]

Transcript
You have to use the right tool for the job. A power drill is the wrong tool to slice fruit, just like an antibiotic is the wrong tool to treat viruses, including colds and flu. Antibiotics are only needed for certain bacterial infections. When they aren’t needed, antibiotics won’t help you and the side effects could still hurt you. Ask your healthcare professional when an antibiotic is the right tool and when it’s not. Visit CDC.gov/antibiotic-use.

Can I feel better without antibiotics?

La Herramienta Correcta [30 seconds]

Transcripta
Los antibióticos tratan ciertas infecciones causadas por bacterias. No tratan infecciones virales, como los resfriados o la influenza. Cuando no se necesitan, los antibióticos no lo ayudarán y los efectos secundarios incluso podrían hacerle daño. Tome Conciencia sobre los Antibióticos. Para obtener más información, visite cdc.gov/antibioticos.

Patient Education Resources

Print, distribute, and display these resources in your offices and waiting rooms.

Patient Education Handouts (Print Only)

Healthcare Professional Resources

Posters

Handouts (Print Only)

Sticker Sheets, Window and Counter Clings

Print window and counter clings on white, thin plastic/vinyl film. Adhere cling to any counter top, or on any clean dry glass surface, like pharmacy windows and mirrors.

Be Antibiotic Aware Smart Use, Best Care.

Stickers pdf icon[PDF – 1 page]

Compatible with full-sheet sticker paper (2×4” label sheet) or standard pre-cut labels.

Prescription Pads (Print Only)

Additional CDC Resources

Antibiotics Quiz

Sepsis Resources

Stewardship Report

Core Elements

Spanish Resources

Information for patients on antibiotic use and resistance in Spanish (Recursos educativos para pacientes y profesionales de atención médica.)

Antibiotic Stewardship Training

This interactive web-based activity contains four sections designed to help physicians optimize antibiotic use to combat antibiotic resistance and improve healthcare quality and patient safety.

CDC’s Antibiotic Stewardship Training Seriesexternal icon

Information on specific topics related to antibiotic resistance

Ordering Print Resources

To order select free print resources, call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit CDC-INFO on Demand – Publications and select “Antibiotic Use” from the Programs drop-down menu. Then click the “Search” button to view all available publications.