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American Academy of Family Physicians Joins CDC to Spread Message About the Appropriate Use of Antibiotics
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work is a national public education campaign designed to help Americans become better informed about antibiotic treatment, especially during the cold and flu season. The campaign’s key message is a basic medical fact: antibiotics do not effectively treat colds, flu and other viral illnesses.
“Symptoms like a runny nose, cough, fever, headache and muscle aches may be bothersome, but antibiotics will not make them go away any faster,” said AAFP President-elect Michael Fleming, M.D. “Antibiotics do not kill viruses, make patients with viral infections feel better or recover faster, or keep others from getting sick.”
According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. Americans of all ages can lower this risk by learning about appropriate antibiotic use and taking antibiotics only when they are needed this cold and flu season.
“Patient and parent education is critical to curbing the overuse of antibiotics,” Fleming said. “Family physicians are under a great deal of pressure to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics by patients and worried parents who mistakenly think that while the antibiotics may not help, they can’t hurt. But they can hurt. Antibiotics taken inappropriately can harm patients, especially those with chronic or multiple illnesses. And they harm us all in the long-run as we create antibiotic-resistant bacteria that will become harder and harder to combat.”
During the last decade, almost every type of bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria can quickly spread through a community, introducing a new strain of infectious disease that is more expensive to treat and more difficult to cure.
The Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work media campaign includes public service announcements for television, radio and print outlets, as well as patient education materials for distribution in doctor’s offices and other health-care centers.
For more information on antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in English and Spanish, visit the AAFP’s consumer Web site at www.familydoctor.org. Additional information can also be found at cdc.gov/getsmart.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
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