A Choosing Wisely Initiative
A major focus area is the use of antibiotics for viral infections.
Before antibiotics, 90% of children with bacterial meningitis died, strep throat could progress to a fatal disease, and ear infections sometimes spread from the ear to the brain, causing severe problems.
However, its effectiveness and popularity has created the problem of overuse (when the body can heal on its own) and misuse (when the medicine is used against a viral illness). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than half the antibiotics used in the United States are prescribed unnecessarily or used improperly.
This increased use and overuse of antibiotics has led to the emergence of antibiotic resistance—a phenomenon which threatens the effectiveness of antibiotic medicines.
For information on when antibiotics are effective and when they're not click on the information sources below or go to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to learn more.