Preventative Care Health Services (PCHS) highlights the importance of appropriate antibiotic use during Antibiotic Awareness Week, Nov. 12-18

During U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week 2018, Preventative Care Health Services encourages the community to learn more about appropriate antibiotic use and the increasing threat of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs and, when used correctly, save millions of lives each year. Yet antibiotics are not always the answer. Inappropriate use can trigger a range of side effects – from minor to severe – and can also lead to antibiotic resistance, which causes 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

How can you protect yourself and your loved ones? Adrian Billings MD, PhD, CMO for PCHS says that education is key and suggests talking with your physician and/or health care professional if you have any questions about antibiotics.

Resources about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance are also available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. These free materials provide in-depth information about when antibiotics are/are not needed and the potentially harmful results of using antibiotics when they are not needed.

Additionally, as part of a health care quality improvement project with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the TMF Quality Innovation Network Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) offers free tools to educate the community on the appropriate use of antibiotics. Preventative Care Health Services is currently working in collaboration with TMF on this initiative.


Viruses: Most people who have a head cold, runny nose, cough, muscle aches, sore throat and even a fever have a virus. Viruses usually cause illness for 7-14 days and the symptoms can be treated with non-prescription medicines like decongestants, cold formulas and cough syrups. Antibiotics do not work against viruses – they only work against bacteria.

Bacteria: Many serious illnesses such as pneumonia, meningitis, dysentery and blood poisoning are caused by bacteria. These illnesses can be life-threatening and can only be treated with antibiotics. If the bacteria are resistant, then it becomes difficult, even impossible, to treat them. Bacteria also cause more common ailments such as ear, urinary and sinus infections.