Community pharmacists play a key role in antibiotic stewardship. For Antibiotic Awareness Week, we are providing some tools for pharmacists to educate patients and promote safe antibiotic use.
According to the CDC, each year in the United States at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result. The CDC also reports that at least 30% of the antibiotics in U.S. outpatient settings are prescribed unnecessarily. Antibiotic resistance and ineffective prescribing are threats to public health that can be reduced by proper education and awareness.
This year, U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is November 18-24. USAAW is a collaboration between the CDC, state-level programs, and non-profit/for-profit partners. The goal is to educate the public and provide steps on how to improve the usage of antibiotics.
As a community pharmacist, you have an opportunity to get involved through your close contact with patients. Here are some easy ways to participate in USAAW:
Check if your patients are up-to-date on all vaccinations. Proper immunization can help protect individuals from easily preventable diseases, which can in turn lower the occurrence of antibiotic resistance. In your pharmacy system, you can set up Rx triggers and custom Rx Edits. These can prompt you to remind patients who have not received all their recommended vaccines.
Social Media -
Spread the word online using the official hashtag: #USAAW19 and #BeAntibioticAware. Don't know what to say? Check out these pre-written posts to get the conversation started.
Printed Handouts -
Get some graphics in your pharmacy - Choose from this variety of pre-made handouts to help educate your patients and provide actionable tips.
Connect with Video -
Need something even more engaging? The CDC has also provided educational videos that you can play on the TV screens inside your pharmacy while patients are waiting to be helped.
Antibiotics carry risk – especially when taken at the wrong dose, for the wrong duration, or for the wrong reasons. Medical professionals have their part in prescribing accurately, but patients also need to be informed so they are able to ask questions and understand the importance of the movement. With so many materials at your disposal, participating during Antibiotic Awareness Week is a simple and efficient way to expand your patient care.