For Immediate Release:
October 2, 2008
CDC Division of Media Relations
, Phone: (404) 639-3286
CDC campaign aims to draw attention to the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance
What do sinusitis, most sore throats, bronchitis, runny noses and
the regular cold have in common? They are upper respiratory tract
infections usually caused by viruses that can′t be cured with
antibiotics. Yet, each year, health care providers in the U.S.
prescribe tens of millions of antibiotics for viral infections.
To bring attention to this increasing problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be observing the Get Smart About Antibiotics Week October 6-10, 2008. The campaign
will highlight the coordinated efforts of the agency, states,
non-profit partners, and for-profit partners to educate the public
about antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate
“Antibiotic overuse is a serious problem and a threat to everyone′s health,” says Dr. Lauri Hicks, medical director of CDC′s
Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work
program. Over-prescribing antibiotics, using a broad-spectrum therapy
when a more specific drug would be better, starting and stopping
medications, giving leftover medications to a friend who appears to
have the same ailment you had, all contribute to the problem of
antibiotic drug resistance, according to Hicks.
“As we enter this year′s cold and flu season, we ask parents to not
insist on getting antibiotics when a health care provider says they are
not needed,” says Hicks. “If you have a cold, or the flu, antibiotics
won't work for you.”
According to Hicks antibiotics kill bacteria, not the viruses that
cause colds or flu, most coughs and bronchitis, sore throats not caused
by strep, and runny noses. Taking antibiotics when you don′t need them
or not as prescribed increases your risk of getting an infection later
that resists antibiotic treatment. If the health care provider’s
recommendation is to wait- wait. People need to be patient and let the
body do its work.
Hicks also asks health care providers to take the time to educate
their patients about antibiotic resistance and the possibility of
having serious side effects. For example, allergic reactions to
antibiotics, such as rash and anaphylaxis, send thousands of patients
to the emergency room each year, according to a recent study published
Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal.
To help prevent illness, Hicks encourages people to wash their hands frequently, get the flu vaccine and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
The campaign will reach out to parents and health care providers
through advertisements, fact sheets, brochures, posters, radio and
print public service announcements, podcasts, and mainstream media
For more information or to download free campaign materials, visit www.cdc.gov/getsmart.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES