Antibiotic pexels
Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines and the infections they cause become harder to treat. (Photo: Pexels)

Imagine a world where routine hip replacements are too high-risk to perform due to lack of effective antibiotic treatment.

Imagine telling your patient an infection is only treatable with an antibiotic so toxic that even if they survive the infection they will suffer irreversible damage to their organs. 

Although this sounds like the plot of a hospital drama, this is already occurring all over the world. In fact, on Sept. 20, 2017, the World Health Organization announced the world is running out of antibiotics.

Described as a "slow-moving tsunami", many countries, government agencies and healthcare organizations have committed resources to address this potential humanitarian crisis. Canada has begun to tackle this by involving the healthcare system, veterinarian medicine, and the agri-food industry.

Antibiotics used when not needed or for too long a duration promote antibiotic resistance, which leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov. 13-19) is an opportunity to learn how everyone can become 'antibiotic-wise' and use antibiotics properly and only when truly needed.

What can healthcare providers do?

  1. Know why your patients are on antibiotics. Don't be afraid todiscuss with your colleagues.
  2. Instead of giving an antibiotic "just in case", stop and think whether the patient really needs it.
  3. Take the pledge to Use Antibiotics Wisely!
    • Go to and take the pledge.
    • Collect the pledge sticker from­ your manager/administrative assistant or ward clerk to put it on your badge to show your commitment.
    • Tweet us your badge @SHSUHNASP to enter for a change to win a Winners gift card and other prizes! Don't have Twitter? Don't worry, email your name and contact info to

What can patients do?

  1. Take the pledge!
  2. Don't be afraid to ask"do I really need this antibiotic?"
  3. Wash your hands and get the flu shot to protect yourself and those around you.

Follow @SHSUHNASP, @UHN_News, and @CANADAresist on Twitter to learn about how to use antibiotics wisely.​

Antibiotics graphic
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