Governor, KDHE urges Kansans to use antibiotics wisely

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Governor Laura Kelly proclaimed November 18-24 Kansas Antibiotic Wise Week. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is asking health care providers and Kansas to use antibiotics wisely to protect them from the growing threat of antibiotic resistance (AR). This week-long celebration led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promotes awareness of RA and the importance of proper antibiotic prescribing and use in the United States.

“The overuse and misuse of antibiotics has caused some bacteria to develop resistance to these important drugs. We all have a role to play in ensuring the proper use of antibiotics,” said Dr Joan Duwve, Public Health Officer at KDHE. “Using antibiotics only when appropriate and as prescribed will help prevent the development of new antibiotic-resistant bacteria, further protecting all Kansans.”

Antibiotic awareness does not mean stopping antibiotic use; it means improving the way antibiotics are prescribed and used – only when necessary and appropriate.

Since the 1940s, antibiotics have been used to treat patients with bacterial infections, dramatically reducing the number of associated illnesses and deaths. But now, more than 75 years later, antibiotics have been overused and misused to the point that the bacteria antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective, according to the CDC. In fact, some organisms have become so resistant that there are virtually no drugs that can successfully treat infections.

The CDC finds that more than a third of all antibiotics prescribed or otherwise used in the United States are unnecessary or do not match the germ. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, such as the common cold, most sore throats, and many sinus infections.

“Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to individual and public health because it reduces our options for effective treatments for bacterial infections and limits the tools available to healthcare providers to fight life-threatening infectious diseases,” he said. Duve said.

Each year, more than 2.8 million people in the United States acquire RA infections and more than 35,000 of those people die. Kansas is the 10th highest antibiotic prescribing state with 882 antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 people, and the 11th worst in the nation for implementing antibiotic stewardship programs in our hospitals. Responsible antibiotic stewardship (SA) is the effort to improve the prescribing and use of antibiotics. It is essential that health care providers include AS in their practice and that everyone becomes the guardian of appropriate use.

Here is how Kansans can help you:

• Wash your hands. This is one of the best ways to prevent or stop the spread of infections.

• Do not ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics.

• Antibiotics can have side effects. When your doctor tells you that you don’t need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good.

• Take only the antibiotics that have been prescribed for you and follow all the treatment as described. Do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics treat specific types of infections. Taking the wrong medicine can delay the correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.

To learn more about antibiotic resistance, visit www.UseAntibioticsWisely.com.

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