Be Antibiotics Aware Partner Toolkit
U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is November 18-24, 2023.
- 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 antimicrobial 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.
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.
CDC is committed to incorporating health equity science into stewardship program research and activities to ensure that antibiotic prescribing is optimized for all patients, in all healthcare settings and across all regions of the United States.
Share these messages among your partner networks and with your colleagues, family, and friends.
- Antibiotics can save lives. When a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects and antimicrobial resistance.
- Antibiotics do NOT treat viruses, like those that cause colds, flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), or COVID-19. Other medications, like antivirals, can treat viruses.
- Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics. Antibiotics are not needed for treating many sinus infections and some ear infections, which can be caused by either bacteria or viruses.
- 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 antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. If antibiotics and antifungals lose their effectiveness, then we lose the ability to treat infections, like those that can 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, which could be Clostridioides difficile (or C. diff ) infection, a condition that requires immediate treatment.
- Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy. This helps reduce antibiotic use and fights antimicrobial resistance:
- Clean your hands by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Stay at home when sick.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Get recommended vaccines, such as the flu and COVID-19 vaccines.
- If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed.
- Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Everyone can help improve antibiotic use. Improving the way we take antibiotics helps keep us healthy now, helps fight antimicrobial resistance, and ensures that these life-saving antibiotics will be available for future generations.
- 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 those that cause colds, flu, RSV, or COVID-19.
- Talk to your patients about 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. The goal is to optimize the treatment of the infection while minimizing the risks of side effects from antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance.
- Talk to patients and their families about possible harms from antibiotics, such as allergic reactions, C. difficile infection, and antimicrobial-resistant infections.
- Educate your patients and their families about recognizing early signs and symptoms of worsening infection and sepsis and seeking immediate care if signs and symptoms are present.
- 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.
- 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 those that cause COVID-19.
- Optimizing the use of diagnostic tests is critical for improving treatment of conditions like sepsis and stopping the spread of infections.
- 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.
- Antibiotics can save lives, but any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance.
- Antimicrobial 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.
- Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent global public health threat, killing at least 1.27 million people worldwide and associated with nearly 5 million deaths in 2019.
- In the U.S., more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. (See CDC’s antimicrobial resistance website).
- In addition, 202,600 hospitalized cases of Clostridioides difficile (or C. diff ) occurred in 2019 and at least 11,500 people died. C. diff is rarely resistant to antibiotics; however, it usually occurs in people who have taken antibiotics. See 2022 SPECIAL REPORT: COVID-19 U.S. Impact on Antimicrobial Resistance [PDF – 44 pages] for more.
- Antimicrobial resistance does not mean the body is resistant to antibiotics or antifungals; it means bacteria and fungi that live in and on our bodies develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.
- When bacteria become resistant, antibiotics cannot fight them, and the bacteria multiply.
- Antimicrobial-resistant infections can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat.
- Antimicrobial-resistant germs can quickly spread across settings, including communities, the food supply, healthcare facilities, the environment (e.g., soil, water), and around the world. Antimicrobial resistance is a One Health problem—the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment (soil, water).
How to use: Insert the following content into your newsletters, blogs, and other publications.
Article for Targeting Patients/Families
CDC advises patients and their families to Be Antibiotics Aware [PDF – 1 Page]
Article Targeting Healthcare Professionals
Be Antibiotics Aware: Protect your patient [PDF – 1 Page]
Copy and paste these social media messages. Use #BeAntibioticsAware, #AntimicrobialResistance, and #USAAW23 in any messages you share.
- Don’t ask for antibiotics to treat viruses, like those that cause colds, flu, RSV, or COVID-19. Instead, ask your HCP or pharmacist how to feel better. https://bit.ly/3rKkb7M
- Being Antibiotics Aware helps patients, caregivers, families, and healthcare professionals improve antibiotic prescribing and use. Learn more. http://bit.ly/2JPGrZd
- Have a virus such as a cold or the 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
- Parents/caregivers: Have a sick child? Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Use the right tool to help your child feel better: http://bit.ly/3G3aqdL
- Antibiotics are critical tools for treating life-threatening infections, like those that can lead to sepsis. Any time antibiotics are used, they can contribute to antimicrobial resistance. Protect yourself from infections & preserve the power of antibiotics: https://bit.ly/ProtectYourselfAR
- We’re proud to be a Be Antibiotics Aware partner for U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week! Learn how you can participate: https://bit.ly/3042qDw
- 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/3k6EfOe
- HCPs: Be antibiotics aware by talking to your patients about why they don’t need antibiotics for a virus. https://bit.ly/3BRx1pl
- 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/3k6EfOe
- Healthcare Professionals: Talk to your patients about when antibiotics are and are not needed, and discuss possible side effects such as C. diff, allergic reactions, and antimicrobial-resistant infections. CDC has patient education resources to help. https://bit.ly/3BRx1pl
- #Antibiotics aren’t needed for and won’t help treat colds, #flu, #RSV, or #COVID19. #BeAntibioticsAware and talk to your #HCP: https://bit.ly/3l8KFyd #USAAW23
- Being #antibiotics aware = knowing that antibiotics aren’t needed to treat many #sinus infections and some ear #infections. https://bit.ly/3mWYGyv #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW23
- During U.S. #AntibioticAwareness Week, #BeAntibioticsAware and learn when #antibiotics are and are not needed. https://bit.ly/3l8KFyd #USAAW23
- When #antibiotics are not needed, they will not help you feel better, and the side effects could still cause harm. Learn more. https://bit.ly/3l8KFyd #BeAntibioticsAware #USAAW23
- Taking #antibiotics only when needed is one thing you can do to help fight #antimicrobialresistance. https://bit.ly/3l8KFyd #USAAW23 #BeAntibioticsAware
- Anytime #antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to #AntimicrobialResistance. #BeAntibioticsAware! https://bit.ly/3l8KFyd #USAAW23
- We’re proud to be a #BeAntibioticsAware partner for U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week! Learn how you can participate: https://bit.ly/3042qDw #USAAW23
- Be an antibiotics whiz. Test your knowledge about antibiotics.
- Current Report: Antibiotic Use in the United States: Progress and Opportunities
- Past Antibiotic Prescribing and Use Reports
- Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship
- Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs
- Antibiotic Stewardship for Nursing Homes
- Human Antibiotic Stewardship Programs in Resource-Limited Settings
- Antibiotic Stewardship for Health Departments
Information for patients on antibiotic use and resistance in Spanish (Recursos educativos para pacientes y profesionales de atención médica.)
Antibiotic Stewardship Training
CDC Training on Antibiotic Stewardship
This interactive web-based activity contains four sections designed to help clinicians optimize antibiotic use to combat antimicrobial resistance and improve healthcare quality and patient safety.
Information on specific topics related to antimicrobial resistance
- Antimicrobial Resistance
- Antimicrobial Resistance Questions and Answers
- Antimicrobial Resistance, Food, and Food Animals
- COVID-19 & Antimicrobial Resistance
- Drug-resistant Gonorrhea
- Drug-resistant TB