Patients and Families Get Smart About Antibiotics

What is Antimicrobial stewardship?

Antimicrobial stewardship is ensuring the best use of available antimicrobial agents like antibiotics, so they continue to work effectively. 

Why is it important?

Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can cause some bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic.  Each year in the United States, an estimated 2 million people get serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a result of these infections.

What can you do as a parent?

The best way to help prevent antimicrobial resistance is to learn the ABCs of antibiotics.

  • A – Ask.  Ask your child’s healthcare provider, “Are these antibiotics necessary?”.
  • B – Bacteria.  Antibiotics do not kill viruses.  They only kill bacteria.  Antibiotics are not needed for common illnesses like colds, most sore throats, the flu, and even some ear infections.  These illnesses are often caused by viruses.
  • C – Complete.  If an antibiotic is prescribed, administer all of it exactly as instructed (even if your child is feeling better).

Additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention