The World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) is held annually on November 12-18. It is a global campaign to promote prudent use of antimicrobials such as antibiotics and to raise global awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or antibiotic resistance.

What is an antibiotic steward and why is it important?

Antibiotic stewardship is a top priority among health care providers, government agencies, health care agencies, and insurance companies. Antibiotic stewardship means simply using antibiotics wisely. Because new antibiotics are rarely developed, bacteria that are the source of infection are resistant to the antibiotics we have, so we should use the right antibiotics at the right dose, at the right time, and for the right period.

What do our federal and state governments do about antibiotic stewardship?

In 2013, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned health care providers with antibiotic resistance threats through the US antibiotic resistance threat report.

Then in 2014, the CDC announced the key elements of "Hospital antibiotic management" and in 2015 released similar guidelines to nursing homes. These guidelines provide guidance to health care providers on how to use antibiotics wisely. In Indiana, certain infections caused by resistant bacteria should be reported to the State Department of Health to track trends and improve best practices.

Also in 2015, President Obama convened a White House meeting of medical leaders to establish a national action plan to fight antibiotic resistant bacteria to establish a plan to combat antibiotic resistance.

What is my doctor doing about the antibiotic stewardship?

In a doctor's office, your doctor will determine if you have a viral or bacterial infection, your symptoms, the seasonal season, and whether the infection has occurred in your community. It is important to recognize these differences because antibiotics do not cure viral infections such as colds or flu, and they can aggravate problems by promoting antibiotic resistance development later on.

When your doctor thinks the infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not helpful and can make things worse. On the other hand, if an infection is caused by a bacterium, choosing the right antibiotic, taking it as directed, and taking it until all it is gone can make a difference when treating the infection.

What are you doing about our antibiotic stewards in our hospital?

In hospitals, blood, tissue, and / or urine cultures are used to identify certain bacteria that cause infection and to show which antibiotics remove those bacteria and which antibiotics are not effective. Choosing the right antibiotic from the beginning is important to prevent treatment failure and to avoid potential side effects.

The Joint Commission, which certified hospitals in 2017, proposed eight hospital accreditation standards covering antibiotic stewardship. Indiana University's Health Ball Memorial Hospital is fully compliant with these eight proposals. At Ball Memorial Hospital, epidemiologists, surgeons, infection prevention nurses, epidemiologists and pharmacists teams monitor bacterial resistance and patient response to support frontline doctors and nurses to make the most of antibiotics.

What about antibiotic stewardship?

It is best not to take antibiotics if your healthcare provider has determined that your infection is caused by a virus. Some people think that if nausea or vomiting is related to antibiotic use in the past, they are allergic to antibiotics. However, what it actually means is that at that particular time you can not tolerate the antibiotic. The nausea or vomiting you experience may be due to antibiotics or other unrelated causes. It is important to distinguish between temporary intolerance and true allergy. Your doctor can choose an alternative antibiotic that is not the best choice for your situation. If you have narrow-mindedness, you can still take antibiotics. This antibiotic may be a better choice than some alternative therapies.

The Joint Committee has developed patient education support so that we all can use antibiotics wisely.

Richard G. Lugar, PharmD, BCPS is an antibiotic chief pharmacist at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. For more information, call Lugar at [email protected], call 765-281-6566 or visit

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