Appropriate Antibiotic Use

CDC's Be Antibiotics Aware Campaign

Remember--antibiotics are NOT always the best medicine.

When you are sick, you want to feel better right away. Some people think antibiotics will cure runny noses or make children’s flu symptoms go away. Unfortunately antibiotics cannot help with any of these symptoms. Actually, by taking an antibiotic for viral infections such as the common cold or the flu, you put yourself and others at risk for catching antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

For over half a century, clinicians have relied on antibiotics to treat many infections. These "miracle drugs" allowed people to live longer and healthier lives. Over time, however, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics developed. This issue is partially due to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. The developing resistance of bacteria make it difficult for doctors to treat infections that require antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance rates in Tennessee are among the highest in the nation. The Tennessee Department of Health, with support from the CDC's Be Antibiotics Aware Campaign, is dedicated to educating clinicians and the public about appropriate antibiotic use. It is vital to increase awareness of this issue and reduce inappropriate antibiotic use in Tennessee.

Be Antibiotics Aware Logo


To reduce inappropriate antibiotic use and the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause many upper respiratory illnesses through state and local partnerships.

The mission of Tennessee’s Appropriate Antibiotic Use Campaign is possible with the help of the medical community and general community working together to design and implement educational programs to educate physicians, parents of young children, and the general community about appropriate antibiotic use. Specifically, the goals of the campaign are to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use and the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in Tennessee by:

  • Changing practitioner and consumer attitudes and behaviors about the use of antibiotics
  • Increasing parental knowledge of appropriate antibiotic use
  • Increasing community awareness of appropriate antibiotic use and resistance
  • Mobilizing practitioner and consumer groups to assist the community in reducing the overuse and misuse of antibiotics