PORTLAND, Ore. –For the third year, the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University and the Oregon Health Authority will sponsor “AWARE at the Square” in Portland, a health education event about antibiotic use and resistance.
The event will be at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland on Friday, Nov. 16, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. OSU pharmacy students will be available to discuss these issues, as well as help people learn ways to prevent infection and talk to their doctor about when they really need antibiotics.
Flu shots will also be provided for free to adults who are either uninsured or have barriers to accessing the vaccination. Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to stay healthy in the winter.
It’s important to recognize that antibiotics do not treat the cold or flu, said Jessina McGregor, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy and an expert on antibiotic use and resistance. Using antibiotics when unnecessary may make it less likely that they will work when you really need them, she said.
This is one of the key public health messages highlighted during this month’s national Get Smart about Antibiotics Week, which aims to educate the public about appropriate antibiotic use, increasing problems with resistance to antibiotics, and preventing infections.
“Antibiotics can be important, sometimes life-saving medications when we really need them, but too often they are taken unnecessarily or not taken properly,” McGregor said.
Colds and influenza, McGregor said, are caused by viruses, and antibiotics will not help people get better. Instead, these unnecessary uses can lead to development of resistance in bacteria, which poses a significant public health threat.