TN DOH draws attention to overuse of antibiotics

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Nashville – The Tennessee Department of Health recognizes the critical importance of antibiotics to public health during Antibiotic Awareness Week, Nov. 18 to Nov. 24, 2022and encouraging Tennessee residents to avoid overuse of anti-infective drugs.

“Antibiotics fight bacteria to stop serious infections and save lives,” said TDH Commissioner Dr. Morgan McDonald, MD, FACP, FAAP. “If you take antibiotics when they’re not needed, or if you don’t take them as directed, you can destroy the good bacteria your body needs to prevent disease. You also increase your risk of getting sick from infections that don’t respond at all to antibiotic treatment.

Antibiotic resistance poses a serious threat to public health when bacteria do not respond to drugs designed to stop their spread. More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year and more than 35,000 people die from them, according to the CDC.

The TDH program for Healthcare-Associated Infections/Antimicrobial Resistance (AHI/AR) recommends that Tennessians follow some best practices when prescribing antibiotics:

• Take antibiotics exactly as directed and finish treatment even when you feel better.
• Talk with your health care provider if you develop side effects.
• Discuss over-the-counter remedies that may improve symptoms with your provider or pharmacist.
• Remember that antibiotics are not necessary to treat viruses like colds and flu.
• Keep yourself and others healthy by washing your hands, staying home when you are sick, and getting vaccinated.

“Antibiotics can and do save lives,” said HAI/AR Director Dr. Christopher Wilson, MD, MPH. “Tennessees can help us protect their health by following their prescriber’s antibiotic recommendations, and understanding that antibiotics are not necessarily necessary to treat all infections.”

Visit TDH Healthcare-Associated Infections/Antimicrobial Resistance Program for more information and resources.

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