The CDC Get Smart About Antibiotics Week & WHO World Antibiotic Awareness Week are special events meant to raise awareness about appropriate antibiotic use and the problems antibiotic resistance presents to human health. Here are five easy ways you can participate in the events.
Authored By: Timothy P. Gauthier, Pharm.D., BCPS-AQ ID
Each year for one week the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) observes Get Smart About Antibiotics Week and encourages others to participate in the event. This same week the World Health Organization observes World Antibiotic Awareness Week. Leading organizations and governments from countries around the globe get involved for the cause. In 2016 Get Smart About Antibiotics / World Antibiotic Awareness Week will be from November 14th through 20th. If you are reading this after the week has passed I urge you to continue reading, because much of the below information is helpful 365 days a year.
It is well-known amongst healthcare professionals that antimicrobial resistance poses a significant threat to human health world-wide. However, studies consistently find that the general public has an incomplete understanding of antibiotic resistance and misperceptions about it are all too common.
As a result, it is essential that healthcare professionals and those who fully comprehend the immense threat of antibiotic resistance get involved to help spread the word. The problems with antibiotic resistance do not reside in a hospital or a single country alone but are pervasive throughout global societies.
To assist others in identifying how they can very easily participate in this important week, the following five suggestions for getting involved are identified.
1. Talk to your patients, colleagues, friends and family
Human interactions are incredibly powerful. Through acknowledging that the issue of antibiotic resistance is important to you, a lasting impression can be left with others. This is particularly true when speaking to someone who sees you as a role model or mentor.
As you go throughout your typical activities each day during this special week, consider taking opportunities to broach the topic of safe and appropriate antibiotic use with the people you interact with. Even something as minor as a comment during a brief elevator encounter can help.
Here are some comments to consider:
- “Did you know it is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week?”
- “I only take antibiotics when I absolutely have to and under the supervision of a medical professional”
- “Antibiotics – they just do not work for viruses, so make sure your infection is bacterial before you take one.”
- CDC graphics related to antibiotic resistance, use and prescribing
- CDC get smart about antibiotics week toolkit
- WHO antibiotic resistance quiz
- WHO graphics related to antibiotic resistance, use and prescribing
- WHO antibiotic awareness week toolkit
- #SaveAntibiotics or #SaveABX
- Get smart, know when antibiotics work print materials
- Examples of when antibiotics are urgent and necessary
- Antibiotic resistance posters
- Free antibiotic study guide
- Free clinical microbiology case studies
- Free antimicrobial susceptibility testing course
- Free CE for pharmacists on community pharmacists & antibiotic resistance
- Free CME course on optimizing antibiotic practices
- Free CME on outpatient antibiotic prescribing
- Free CME on antibiotic time-outs
- Free articles from IDstewardship
2. Share awareness materials and reliable resources on social media
Whether you have 100,000 followers or 100 followers you can make an impact. The reach of material shared on social media is much more than many people realize. Just because something shared only gets a few likes or retweets or reposts does not always correlate to a low number of total views. It is likely that you have more power to impact others than you realize.
Sharing a helpful website link or interesting image on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms requires little effort. Here are some excellent resources to share:
Tag @CDCgov, @WHO or other participating groups in your posts. Here are some hashtags to consider using:
3. Participate in Twitter events
There are a number of events occurring on Twitter. If you do not use Twitter, it may be a good time to give it a test run and see what it is all about. You will find it is more than celebrities taking selfies, I promise. However, while there are entire subcultures within Twitter it is important that we not only engage those like us but also try to reach a wider audience when possible.
One really cool thing CDC is doing is called a “thunderclap.” By registering with the site here you can participate and have a post made to your account simultaneously with the over 2,000 already registered individuals. This will help make #AntibioticResistance a trending topic.
There is also a CDC global Twitter chat occurring on November 18th from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. To participate follow @CDCgov and use the hashtag #AntibioticResistance in your tweets.
Finally, Thursday November 17th from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time there will be an antibiotic awareness twitter chat hosted by several antimicrobial stewards. To participate use the hashtag #ASPchat and follow @IDstewardship, @real_IDpharmd, @MarkADowning, @SHSUHNASP and @AlainnaJJ.
4. Put up posters and/or hand out flyers
There are a great number of print-outs available to you through CDC and WHO. Here are links to some:
If you can, try to print things in color and place them where they will get attention due to natural foot traffic through the area.
5. Take time to enhance your knowledge about antibiotics & antimicrobial stewardship
While raising awareness with others about the safe and appropriate use of antibiotics is commendable, let’s face it, there is a lot to know when it comes to antibiotics. So take this time and get motivated to refresh yourself or expand your knowledge.
Here are some excellent resources:
I hope you have found this to be a helpful resource and it will make participating in this special event both easy and effective. Hope to see you on social media, find me @IDstewardship!
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