PMH HealthBeat

Do you really
need an
antibiotic for that?

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital hosted the first meeting of a county-wide Antibiotic Stewardship Committee September 28.  Organized and facilitated by PMH Pharmacist Kari Cooper, the meeting brought together healthcare providers and staff from the hospital, the Rural Health Clinic and Community Care of West Virginia.
Many infections are becoming resistant to common antibiotics and the purpose of the Antibiotic Stewardship Committee is to help ensure that patients are getting the most appropriate medications at the right times, without contributing to the growing overuse and misuse of antibiotics. 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths occur each year in the United States due to antibiotic-resistant infections.  Overuse and misuse of antibiotics are the main drivers of this resistance.  The development of new antibiotics to treat resistant infections is a slow process, so we have to improve the use of current antibiotics we have available.
Good antibiotic stewardship will not only decrease antibiotic resistance, but also improve patient outcomes and decrease costs.  The committee providers from each respective setting shared stewardship practices already in place for antibiotic prescribing and discussed how to implement new ideas to improve the health of our community.
As a patient, please understand that antibiotics are not always the answer.  Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections – not viral infections.  When your healthcare provider does not prescribe an antibiotic, please ask for tips on how to relieve your symptoms and feel better.  Antibiotics are not needed for illnesses like colds, most sore throats, the flu, and many ear infections.  These illnesses are often caused by viruses, which will not respond to antibiotics, and must simply run their course. 
Good antibiotic stewardship is the responsibility of everyone – patients, healthcare providers and hospitals. 
Please feel free to talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have questions about the prescribing of antibiotics.

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