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What is Antibiotic Stewardship?

November 20, 2019

Source: Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care
Article By: Alicia Tezel, MD, FAAP

You might have heard of the “Superbug Crisis”.

If not, here is a brief explanation:

Antibiotics are prescribed to fight bacteria (not viruses!) and the use of them has increased exponentially since the emergence of penicillin in the 1940s. Now antibiotics are prescribed left and right, a lot of the times for illnesses that do not need to be treated by them! What this has led to is a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Normal penicillin or amoxicillin is not working to cure people of the common bacteria that it used to. Hence the “Superbug”. We have reached the point where there are bacteria that do not respond to antibiotics at all.

There is an effort by the CDC, called “Be Antibiotics Aware” which was begun a few years ago, to try to stop this crisis. Antibiotic stewardship is the practice of only prescribing antibiotics when absolutely necessary. The CDC has found that at least 47 million antibiotic prescriptions each year are not needed. Because of this, almost 3 million people each year become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This can and does lead to hospital stays and death.

What does this mean for you?

Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care is actively participating in the “Be Antibiotics Aware” program. This means that we only prescribe antibiotics if they are necessary. Many illnesses, including ear infections, sinus infections, and bronchitis can be treated without the use of antibiotics.

Some of the methods we employ to be good antibiotic stewards are:

  • Delayed prescribing
    • Your child might be diagnosed with an ear infection and receive an antibiotic prescription to be filled in 2-3 days if they are not feeling better. Not all ear infections require antibiotics, and it is good for a child to try to fight it off before taking antibiotics for it.
  • Strep Tests
    • We test for strep in the throat before prescribing antibiotics. The reason for this is that not all throat infections are caused by strep and therefore antibiotics are not needed.
  • Public Awareness
    • We are actively spreading the news about this program! The more aware everyone is about the dangers of antibiotics, the less they request them.

If your child is sick or injured, bring them to Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care. We are a walk-in pediatric urgent care open seven days a week. We have 11 locations in San Antonio and one in Dallas. Our Potranco clinic, located at 14249 Potranco Road, will open early 2020. For more information, please email us at info@littlespurs.com. We welcome walk-ins, accept most insurance plans and are proud to be accredited by the Urgent Care Association!

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