Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH) staff members are working hard to protect patients – this time by NOT prescribing medications. Antibiotic Awareness week is a national effort by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to raise awareness of the importance of appropriate antibiotic use to combat antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic Stewardship Programs have been shown to improve patient safety and clinical quality. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers at FCMH have teamed up to implement these programs in our emergency department, Same Day Care Clinic, physician offices and hospital. Patients will see increased signage throughout the hospital about being Antibiotic Aware and information about antibiotic use is included in patient discharge and informational packets.
Our doctors, nurses and health professionals are participating in advanced training through the CDC’s Antibiotic Stewardship Training Plan to better learn when antibiotics are the right tool for the job. Imagine someone using a steel cutter to sharpen a pencil, or a hammer to mash potatoes. Sounds laughable. But each year an estimated 20-50 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate. Just like using the wrong tool for the job, the consequences can be serious.
Any medication can lead to side effects. For antibiotics these side effects may include the development of rashes, nausea, dizziness, yeast infection and diarrhea. Antibiotics can interact with other prescription medications. When antibiotics aren’t needed, they will not help you, and in fact, can harm you. One of the most serious consequences can be the development of Clostridium difficile infection. This is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the colon, often leading to hospitalization and possibly death.
Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have allowed doctors to treat infections that were once considered deadly. Today a worldwide crisis is developing as the misuse of antibiotics has resulted in resistant “superbugs.” One of the most widely-recognized is methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA). Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have identified strategies for reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics and slow the development of antibiotic resistance. More information on how you can protect yourself and your family can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/community/about/antibiotic-resistance-faqs.html