The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) this week joins agencies and organizations throughout the country in observing U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week.
The week, which runs November 18-24, is intended to educate the public about proper antibiotic use and the prevention of antibiotic-resistant infections.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which spearheads U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, up to one-half of antibiotic use is either unnecessary or inappropriate.
This creates additional health risks by increasing the chances that a patient will experience adverse drug reactions. More than 2.8 million infections from bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics occur and over 35,000 people die as a direct result in the United States.
“Antibiotics are powerful medicines used to combat life-threatening bacterial diseases, however, overuse leads to an immunity against these drugs and poses significant public health threats,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “That is why we urge patients to take every precaution to reduce the chances of developing antibiotic-resistant infections.”
Antibiotic overuse increases the development of drug-resistant germs and drives up the cost and complexity of treating simple infections. As a result, bacteria stop responding to drugs designed to kill them, increasing the risk of serious illness and death when these infections cannot be treated.
To minimize the impact of antibiotic resistance, New Jerseyans should:
- Only take antibiotics prescribed to you, and take them as recommended
- Implement proper hand hygiene as part of their daily routine and receive recommended vaccinations to prevent infections that might require antibiotic treatment
- Discuss concerns about antibiotic resistance with your health care provider
For more information about U.S. Antibiotics Awareness Week visit the [**CDC website**](https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/week/index.html).
Education materials about antibiotic awareness, including resources for patients, parents, and school teachers and athletes, can be found on [**DOH’s website**](https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/njantibioticsaware.shtml).