American Academy of Emergency Medicine


Be Antibiotics Aware 2017

Be Antibiotics Aware: Protect your patients

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. To kick off U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, CDC launched Be Antibiotics Aware, an educational effort to raise awareness about the importance of safe antibiotic prescribing and use.

The new Be Antibiotics Aware initiative provides resources to help improve antibiotic prescribing among healthcare professionals, focusing on prescribing antibiotics only when needed, and at the right dose for the right duration and at the right time.

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

  1. Follow clinical guidelines when prescribing antibiotics.
  2. Remember to prescribe the right antibiotic, at the right dose, for the right duration, and at the right time.
  3. Protect your patients. Only prescribe antibiotics when they are needed. You can do harm by prescribing antibiotics that aren’t needed.
  4. Tell your patients why they don’t need antibiotics for a viral infection, what to do to feel better, and when to seek care again if they don’t feel better.
  5. Talk to your patients and their families about possible harms from antibiotics, such as allergic reactions, C. difficile, and antibiotic-resistant infections.
  6. Watch for signs of sepsis, which can be life threatening. If you suspect sepsis, start antibiotics immediately. Signs include confusion or disorientation, shortness of breath, high heart rate, fever, or shivering or feeling very cold, extreme pain or discomfort, clammy or sweaty skin.    
  7. Follow hand hygiene and other infection prevention measures with every patient.   

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. See links below for some of these resources or visit their website at: www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use.