APIC teaches the ABC’s of antibiotic resistance

Online resources help patients, families, and healthcare professionals reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics

Washington, DC, October 7, 2014 – Antibiotic resistance, responsible for more than 23,000 deaths per year in the U.S., is the theme of International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW), October 19-25. It is hosted annually by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). IIPW puts the spotlight on timely infection prevention issues facing patients and healthcare professionals. 

“Antibiotic resistance is an urgent health concern that demands the full attention of healthcare professionals and consumers alike,” said APIC 2014 President Jennie Mayfield, BSN, MPH, CIC. “Patients and families have an important role to play in preventing overuse and helping to ensure appropriate use of antibiotics. With the rise of deadly antibiotic-resistant infections, everyone needs to be asking ‘is this antibiotic really necessary?’”

In an effort to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics, APIC has released several resources for patients and healthcare professionals to help further education and awareness of this global issue. 

APIC’s new informational poster for consumers on the ABC’s of antibiotics illustrates when antibiotics work and when they don’t, what happens if antibiotics are used improperly, and the role that patients play in preventing the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The poster also includes the top five questions consumers should ask their healthcare professionals about antibiotics:

1.“Do I really need an antibiotic?”

2.“Can I get better without an antibiotic?”

3.“What side effects or drug interactions can I expect?”

4.“What side effects should I report to you?”

5.“How do you know what kind of infection I have? I understand that antibiotics won’t work for viral infections.”

Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), find that one of the most common bacteria responsible for healthcare-associated infections, C. difficile, could be reduced by 26 percent if the use of high-risk, broad-spectrum antibiotics was reduced by 30 percent. The White House recently announced a new Executive Order and National Strategy for Combatting Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria, which emphasized the need for antibiotic stewardship programs to help clinicians improve prescribing practices. 

“International Infection Prevention Week is the perfect time to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance and the need for stewardship programs within healthcare institutions,” said Katrina Crist, CEO of APIC. “We are grateful to the numerous corporate champions and association partners who have joined with APIC to spread these important patient safety messages.”

APIC will be hosting a Twitter chat on October 22 at 2 p.m. ET. The conversation will focus on antibiotic resistance and the importance of preserving antibiotics. The hashtag for the chat is #IIPWChat.

In 2013 APIC launched a new campaign entitled “Infection Prevention and You” to help raise awareness of infection prevention issues and share resources with consumers. These resources and activities are a continuation of that campaign.

APIC’s mission is to create a safer world through prevention of infection. The association’s more than 15,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. APIC advances its mission through patient safety, implementation science, competencies and certification, advocacy, and data standardization. Visit APIC online at www.apic.org. Follow APIC on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apic and Facebook: www.facebook.com/APICInfectionPreventionandYou. For information on what patients and families can do, visit APIC’s Infection Prevention and You website at www.apic.org/infectionpreventionandyou.  

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