Be Antibiotics Aware Partner Toolkit

U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is
November 18-24, 2021.

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.
Key Messages

Share these messages among your partner networks and with your colleagues, family, and friends.

Messages for Patients
  • Antibiotics can save lives. When a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects and antibiotic resistance.
  • Antibiotics do NOT treat viruses, like those that cause colds, flu, or COVID-19.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Be Antibiotics Aware logo

#BeAntibioticsAware

CDC recognizes that research is essential to discover both more effective ways to implement proven stewardship practices as well as new approaches. CDC will continue to support research efforts aimed at finding innovative solutions to stewardship challenges.

Messages for Outpatient Healthcare Professionals (HCPs)
  • You can do harm by prescribing antibiotics when they are not needed. Remind your patients that antibiotics are only needed to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, not viruses like SARS-CoV-2.
  • 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 Inpatient & Long-term Care HCPs
  • 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.
    • Antibiotics are only needed to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, not viruses like SARS-CoV-2.
  • 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.
Messages about 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 CDC’s antibiotic resistance website).
  • In addition, 223,900 cases of Clostridioides difficile occurred in 2017 and at least 12,800 people died.
  • 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).
Newsletters

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

Article for Targeting Patients/Families
CDC advises patients and their families to Be Antibiotics Aware pdf icon[PDF – 1 Page]

Article Targeting Healthcare Professionals
Be Antibiotics Aware: Protect your patient pdf icon[PDF – 1 Page]

Social Media

Copy and paste these social media messages. Use #BeAntibioticsAware and #USAAW21 in any messages you share.

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

Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter Sample Posts

Facebook

  • Don’t ask for #antibiotics to treat viruses, like those that cause colds, flu, or #COVID19. Instead, ask your #HCP or #pharmacist how to feel better. https://bit.ly/3rKkb7M external icon#BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW21
  • #BeAntibioticsAware helps #patients, caregivers, families, and #healthcare professionals improve antibiotic prescribing and use. Learn more. http://bit.ly/2JPGrZdexternal icon #USAAW21
  • 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. https://bit.ly/3rKkb7M external icon#BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW21
  • Parents/caregivers: Have a sick child? Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Use the right tool: http://bit.ly/2NcGbCRexternal icon#USAAW21 #BeAntibioticsAware
  • #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/2xMluHCexternal icon #USAAW21
  • We’re proud to be a #BeAntibioticsAware partner for U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week! Learn how you can participate: https://bit.ly/3042qDwexternal icon#USAAW21

 

LinkedIn

  • Healthcare Professionals: Remind your patients that antibiotics are only needed to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, not viruses like those that cause COVID-19. https://bit.ly/3k6EfOeexternal icon
  • HCPs: Be antibiotics aware by telling patients why they don’t need antibiotics for a virus. https://bit.ly/3BRx1plexternal icon
  • Healthcare Professionals: Protect your patients. Remember to prescribe the right antibiotic, at the right dose, for the right duration, and at the right time. https://bit.ly/3k6EfOeexternal icon
  • Healthcare Professionals: Talk to your patients about when antibiotics are and aren’t needed, and discuss possible side effects such as C. diff, allergic reactions, and antibiotic-resistant infections. CDC has resources to help you educate your patients. https://bit.ly/3BRx1plexternal icon

 

Twitter

Twitter Storm
#AntibioticResistance Twitter Storm 10-11 AM EST, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021

Our global Twitter Storm is on Thursday, November 18, from 10 AM EST – 11 AM EST.

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

We will push out a tweet every 5 minutes during the hour, starting with this tweet at 10 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 10 AM EST to start off the Twitter Storm and use the following hashtags in all of your tweets: #AntibioticResistance and #WAAW21.