Governor Kelly and KDHE Ask Kansans to Use Antibiotics Wisely
TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly proclaimed Nov. 18–24 as Use Antibiotics Wisely Week in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is asking health care providers and Kansans to use antibiotics wisely to help protect from the threat of growing resistance. This one-week observance led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promotes awareness of antibiotic resistance (AR) and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use across the United States.
“It will take everyone to do their part in ensuring the proper use of antibiotics,” said Secretary Lee Norman, M.D., Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “Utilizing antibiotics only when appropriate will help decrease the amount of antibiotic resistance infections across the state, further protecting all Kansans.”
Antibiotic awareness does not mean stopping the use of antibiotics; it means improving the way antibiotics are prescribed and used – when necessary and appropriate.
Since the 1940s, antibiotics have been used to treat patients with bacterial infections, significantly reducing the number of related illnesses and deaths. But now, more than 75 years later, antibiotics have been overused and misused to the point that the bacteria the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective, according to the CDC. In fact, some organisms have become so resistant that there are almost no medications that can successfully treat the infections.
The CDC finds that more than one-third of all antibiotics prescribed or otherwise used in the U. S. are either not needed or the antibiotic does not match the germ. Antibiotics are not effective for viruses, such as colds, most sore throats and many sinus infections.
Antibiotic resistance is an ongoing major threat to public health, creating limitations on available treatments for bacterial infections and jeopardizing the ability of healthcare professionals to fight infectious diseases. Additionally, AR increases 4-fold or more when antibiotics are misused for viral infections such as COVID-19 giving this pandemic the potential to kill many more Kansans indirectly by driving antibiotic resistant infections.
Each year, more than 2.8 million people in the United States contract AR infections and more than 35,000 of those people die. Kansas is the 8th highest antibiotic prescribing state with 904 antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 population, and in the bottom three states in the nation for implementing antibiotic stewardship programs in our healthcare facilities. Antibiotic stewardship (AS) is the effort to improve prescription and use of antibiotics. It is critical that not only health care providers include AS in their practice, but also that all of become stewards of appropriate use.
Here are ways Kansans can help:
- Do not request that your doctor prescribe antibiotics.
- Antibiotics may have side effects. When your doctor says you do not need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good.
- Only take antibiotics that are prescribed for you and take the whole course as described. Do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics treat specific types of infections. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.
To learn more about antibiotic resistance, visit UseAntibioticsWisely.com.