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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

APIC keeps it elementary: 'A'sk if antibiotics are needed, know they will only kill 'B'acteria, 'C'omplete full course of drugs

To increase understanding about the threat of antibiotic resistance and the public’s role in preserving the effectiveness of these live-saving medicines, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) created an infographic poster on the ABC’s of antibiotics.

Each year, more than 23,000 people in the U.S. die from infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

During the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, November 17-23, APIC is empowering consumers to Ask if antibiotics are appropriate; understand that antibiotics only kill Bacteria and won’t work against viruses; and that they must Complete the course of their antibiotics – even if they feel better before finishing them. Inappropriate use of antibiotics can lead to the growth of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”

APIC’s new ABC’s of antibiotics poster, which is also available in Spanish, highlights five questions patients and families should ask when their healthcare provider recommends antibiotics:

  1. “Do I really need an antibiotic?”
  2. “Can I get better without this antibiotic?”
  3. “What side effects or drug interactions can I expect?”
  4. “What side effects should I report to you?”
  5. “How do you know what kind of infection I have? I understand that antibiotics won’t work for viral infections.”

Healthcare providers are being asked to share the ABC’s of antibiotics infographic with patients and families to raise awareness about the danger of misusing antibiotics and to emphasize the public’s role in promoting their appropriate use. APIC has additional resources to help patients and healthcare professionals “get smart” about this global health issue.