LANSING, MI – Sparrow urges everyone to Get Smart About Antibiotics and just concluded a week-long observance of activities to promote knowledge about when to use and not to use antibiotics. “Antibiotics are lifesaving medications. They’re very good but they need to be used in the right time and space,” said Peter Graham, M.D., Executive Medical Director of Sparrow Physicians Health Plan. “They’re like any other tool – there’s a right time, right place to use them and when you use them in the wrong time, wrong place they can be harmful.” According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of those infections. The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. A high percentage of bacteria are killed when antibiotics are prescribed but some survive because they are too strong or resistant. They grow stronger as more antibiotics are prescribed. That’s why the CDC, through a presidential proclamation, sponsors Get Smart About Antibiotics Week to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate prescribing and use. President Obama called upon the scientific community, medical professionals and others to observe the week by promoting the responsible use of antibiotics. Dr. Graham said PHP and the Sparrow Care Network – a clinically integrated network of more than 600 Sparrow providers – has provided more information to their Physician members about the appropriate use of antibiotics. But the issue also involves educating Patients who are used to receiving antibiotics to cure their ills. “A lot of Patients just don’t understand that there’s any downside to it,” Dr. Graham said. “When you explain that to them, my experience is 90 percent of the time they say, ‘You’re right, doc. Let’s go that way (without an antibiotic).’” Find out more about the week at www.cdc.gov/getsmart/week/ Choose Wisely. Choose Sparrow.