Campus Life

Get smart about antibiotics

A black light was used to show children in a daycare class at Penn State's Bennett Center where bacteria hides on their hands. The classroom exercise was part of an Antimicrobial Resistance event held Nov. 17. Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Physician General, visited the children to show them good hand washing habits. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s top doctor, Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, visited Penn State on Nov. 17 to talk about antimicrobial resistance (ABR) to an audience of Penn State students.

In the United States alone, antibiotic resistant infections cause 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year, said Levine as she talked about the "Get Smart About Antibiotic Resistance" program.

The program's initiatives include:

— Hand washing demonstrations in daycare facilities;

— Educating parents as to what symptoms indicate a need for antibiotics and what do not;

— Arming pharmacy students with knowledge about ABR to disseminate to the community;

— Increasing vaccination rates among all members in communities, particularly daycare workers; and

— Evaluating current and proposed practices for prophylactic and post-procedure antibiotic prescribing in dental practices as well as children’s hospital settings, particularly in cases of acute appendicitis.

Levine said doctors and patients could help stop the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

"This is really a call to action for providers,” she said. “I’m the Physician General, I’m the state’s doctor, you should get your flu shot. That’s my prescription.”

Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Physician General, visited Penn State's Bennett Family Center on the morning of Nov. 17. Levine read a book to a group of daycare students entitled "Katie Caught a Cold." Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

As part of the event, Levine read the book “Katie Caught a Cold” to a group of Bennett Family Center children, who had already been learning about good hygiene and the need to wash their hands. Then she used a black light to demonstrate how germs spread.

Following a story, read by Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, the children at the Bennett Family Center showed what they learned about how to wash their hands thoroughly. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

She also read a proclamation from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, declaring Nov. 16-22 as Get Smart About Antibiotics week.

Last Updated November 23, 2015