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Mon November 7, 2011

DUPAGE COUNTY-The DuPage County Health Department is observing "Get Smart About Antibiotics Week" in November by encouraging residents to learn about the proper use of antibiotics to keep their families healthy.

"Get Smart About Antibiotics Week" is an annual campaign coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and it begins Monday, Nov. 14.

People may expect antibiotics to work for every illness, but they don't. The improper use of antibiotics may allow resistant bacteria to quickly spread through a community, introducing a new strain of infectious disease that is more difficult to cure and more expensive to treat.

Antibiotics will not cure viral infections such as:

  • Colds or flu.
  • Most coughs and bronchitis.
  • Sore throats not caused by strep.
  • Runny noses.

What you can do to protect yourself or your child:

  • Talk with your healthcare provider about antibiotic resistance.
  • When you are prescribed an antibiotic take it exactly as the doctor tells you. Complete the prescribed course even if you are feeling better. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect you. This goes for children, too.
  • Clean your hands often (e.g., before meals and after touching pets).
  • Keep you and your child current with recommended immunizations.
  • To feel better when you have an upper respiratory infection and antibiotics are not needed:
  1. Increase fluid intake.
  2. Get plenty of rest.
  3. Use a cool mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion.
  4. Soothe throat with ice chips, sore throat spray, or lozenges (do not give lozenges to young children).
  • Properly dispose of any leftover medication once you have completed your prescription.

Remember these facts:

  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the world's most pressing public health threats.
  • Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat life-threatening bacterial diseases.
  • Increased antibiotic resistance is compromising the effectiveness of antibiotics.
  • Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, and policy makers must work together to employ effective strategies for improving appropriate antibiotic use and ultimately saving lives.

More information about appropriate antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance is available at

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