Antibiotic Awareness Week 2022
November 17, 2022
Antibiotic Awareness Week (AAW) is an annual event to raise awareness about the importance of appropriate antibiotic use. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that a key message for patients and providers during AAW is to avoid antibiotics for viral infections. Supportive care is the mainstay of treatment for viral infections, and antibiotics should only be prescribed when bacterial infections are confirmed or strongly suspected.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic rise in antimicrobial resistance. One of the contributing factors was an increase in antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory infections, many of which were unnecessary. Studies from 2020 show that almost 80% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 received an antibiotic.
During this respiratory virus season, we encourage patients to:
- Get the facts about antibiotics. Antibiotics do NOT work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu or COVID-19. When antibiotics aren't needed, they won't help you, and the side effects could cause harm.
- Ask your health care 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.
- Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy.
- Clean hands by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay home when sick.
- Get recommended vaccines, such as the flu and COVID-19 vaccine.
Find more information about AAW on the CDC website
Denver Health Antibiotic Stewardship Program
Denver Health has an Antibiotic Stewardship Program. This is a team of physicians and pharmacists who work with the providers at Denver Health to help them make the best decisions about prescribing antibiotics for you and your family. This team has developed and provided many resources to your providers so they can make the best decisions about when it is appropriate to prescribe an antibiotic, which antibiotic is the best for your type of infection, what dose is most appropriate for you and for how long you should be treated.
Denver Health has been named an Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence by the Infectious Disease Society of America.