World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) is celebrated in November each year. It aims to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
This year, the theme is ‘The future of antibiotics depends on all of us’.
Since their discovery, antibiotics have served as the cornerstone of modern medicine. However, the persistent overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human and animal health have encouraged the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance, which occurs when microbes, such as bacteria, become resistant to the drugs used to treat them.
Taking antibiotics when they are not needed accelerates emergence of antibiotic resistance, one of the biggest threats to global health.
Overuse of antibiotics can cause bacteria to become resistant, meaning current treatments will no longer work.
It is the bacteria itself that become resistant to antibiotics- not the person or animal.
When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, common infections will no longer be treatable.
Antibiotic resistant infections can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.
Antibiotic resistant infections can lead to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and more deaths.
You can help prevent antibiotic resistance by
- washing your hands properly
- preparing food hygienically
- limiting close contact with others when you are sick
- practicing safe sex
- keeping your vaccinations up-to-date
- standing up for your right to safe drinking water and sanitation
- not sharing antibiotics with others
- always following the advice of a qualified health care professional when taking antibiotics
Not all infections can be treated with antibiotics; antibiotics don’t cure viruses like colds and flu.
Antibiotics are not always the answer. Do not demand antibiotics if your health care professional says you don’t need them.
Only take antibiotics prescribed to you, do not share them with friends or family.
Even if you rarely take antibiotics you can get a resistant infection.
Safe sex prevents infections and slows the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Vaccination prevents infections and slows the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Proper hand hygiene prevents infections and slows the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Link to WHO news release on World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019 (WAAW 2019):