Today’s main takeaway: if you or a loved one are at an inpatient setting, ask every day what antibiotics you’re on, why you’re on them, and when you can stop taking them. Every day. Your care team is likely doing the same thing but you bringing it up helps ensure it remains a priority.
How To Be Smart Using Antibiotics:
- Take the antibiotic exactly as the doctor prescribes them and take them for the shortest duration.
- Try not to skip doses or stop taking an antibiotic early unless your doctor tells you to do so.
- Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Do not save antibiotics for the next illness — makes little sense and can contribute to resistance.
- Discard any leftover medication once the prescribed course of treatment is completed. There are a variety of safe ways you can do this. No flushies!
- Prevent infections by practicing good hand hygiene, cough in your elbow (not your hand), and get recommended vaccines (vaccines don’t contribute to antibiotic resistance).
- Remember antibiotics have side effects. When your doctor or nurse says you don’t need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good. Often walking out of the office WITHOUT a prescription is the best outcome…
Dr. Weissman runs our Stewardship program here at Seattle Children’s and helps families, doctors and nurses be smarter about using antibiotics. This helps improve the quality and safety of care but also will save health care’s bottom line (Cha-Ching, triple win!). Studies show that implementing an antibiotic stewardship program saves lives and can save significant healthcare dollars. Inpatient antibiotic stewardship programs have consistently demonstrated annual savings to hospitals and other healthcare facilities of $200,000 to $400,000.
For more on antibiotic stewardship visit: http://seattlemamadoc.seattlechildrens.org/category/antimicrobial-stewardship