The Kenner Army Health Clinic team is promoting International Infection Prevention Week, which starts Sunday and continues through Oct. 21. This observance occurs on the third week of October each year and is meant to raise awareness of the role infection prevention plays in improving patient safety. The 2017 theme is"Antibiotic Resistance."

IIPW was established in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control has spearheaded the annual effort to highlight the importance of infection prevention among health care professionals, administrators, legislators and consumers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. A growing list of infections are becoming harder to treat as antibiotics become less effective.

Patients, families and health care personnel have an important role to play in keeping patients safe from infection. First and foremost, people need to know the basics of infection prevention. Hand hygiene is key.

The ABC's of Antibiotics helps to guide patients and their health care provider to decide if antibiotics are the right course of treatment for an infection.
A - Ask "Are these antibiotics necessary?" "What can I do to feel better?"
B - Antibiotics do not kill viruses, they only kill bacteria.
C - Complete the Course: Take all antibiotics exactly as prescribed (even if you are feeling better).

When not feeling well, do not pressure a health care provider for antibiotics when they are not needed. Antibiotics are not needed for colds or flu, most coughs and bronchitis, sore throats not caused by strep, runny noses or most earaches. Using antibiotics for the wrong illnesses can cause bacteria to grow into superbugs. This could make an infection much harder to treat. Learn more about antibiotic resistance at www.apic.org/Infectionpreventionandyou and www.cdc.gov/getsmart.

Over the years, IIPW has expanded to every corner of the globe. Celebrating this week brings awareness to patients to promote safer health care practices and reduce the threat of health care-associated infections.

KAHC will have informational displays in the main lobbies with patient information on how to stop the spread of germs and use antibiotics safely.