New York State Department of Health Issues Poster to Raise Awareness About Proper Antibiotics Use in Recognition of U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week

Features Artwork from Western New York Grade-Schooler with Message, "Keep Andy-Biotic Strong…don't use antibiotics wrong!"

Schools, Pediatricians, Other Health Care Providers to Display the Poster During U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 18-24

View the Poster Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 1, 2022) – The New York State Department of Health is reminding New Yorkers that the overuse and misuse of antibiotics are key factors leading to antibiotic resistance. So, while it is tempting to ask a health care provider for antibiotics to treat cold, flu, and other viral illness, it is best to leave such decisions to your provider, as antibiotics only work on bacterial infections. That's the message on a new poster the Department is making available to observe U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, which runs from November 18 to 24.

"Antibiotic misuse and overuse pose a serious threat to the health of patients in New York, the United States, and globally," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "In their struggle to survive, bacteria are always changing and can evolve to develop resistance to antibiotics. That could have a devastating effect on patients, now and in the future."

As part of the effort to raise awareness about antibiotic misuse, in 2019, New York State Department of Health hosted a Children's Art Contest – originally held just prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In that contest, elementary students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade were asked to use their artistic creativity to illustrate the story of Andy-Biotic, the Superbug Superhero, whose mission is to promote appropriate use of antibiotics. In total, 150 children from across the state sent in their entries, and winners in each grade level were selected.

The intent of Art Contest was to encourage the next generation to get involved in "antibiotic stewardship," which means using antibiotics only when needed and listening to doctors when they determine that infections are viral and antibiotics will not work. There is growing public health concern about antibiotic resistance, where bacteria that cause infections are changing to the point that antibiotics we have relied on for years may not be as effective as they were in the past.

The artwork submitted by then-5th grade artist Elina, from Gasport, N.Y., is now being featured in an awareness campaign that underscores how important it is for all of us to use antibiotics correctly. As the slogan says, "Keep Andy-Biotic Strong…don't use antibiotics wrong!"

Posters replicating this artwork are being offered at no cost to schools, pediatricians, primary care providers, urgent care and dental clinics and other health care settings, for display during the annual observance of U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and to spread awareness about wise use of antibiotics.

Be sure to check out the new U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week Toolkit and other resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more information on antibiotic resistance and what you can do to protect antibiotics' effectiveness.