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Chemung County Celebrates Reduction in Antibiotic Prescribing Rates

The Chemung County Health Department kicks off Antibiotic Awareness Week by celebrating the decrease in unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

This initiative strives to combat antibiotic resistance and the “superbugs” that arise from avoidable prescribing of antibiotics. Antibiotics can be appropriately prescribed for bacterial infections, but have no effect on viruses.  Health Dept. staff have worked to reduce rates by educating both providers and the public on the when it’s appropriate to prescribe an antibiotic.

Some physicians say they prescribe antibiotics even when they know they are not indicated because of pressure from patients for a post-office visit “takeaway”. There is concern that they might get negative reviews on patient satisfaction forms if patients are denied antibiotics.  The Health Dept. wants residents to know:

  • Antibiotics save lives.
  • Antibiotics aren’t always the answer.
  • Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu, bronchitis, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green.
  • Antibiotics are only needed for treating infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics.
  • An antibiotic will not make you feel better if you have a virus. 
  • When antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you, and the side effects could still cause harm.
  • Taking antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance. 
  • If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed.
  • Talk with your doctor if you develop any side effects.
  • Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy by cleaning hands, covering coughs, staying home when sick, and getting recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.

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For more information, please contact Mary Beth Wenger, of the New York “Be Antibiotics Aware” Campaign at 518-474-1036 or email her at


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Chemung County
203 Lake Street
Elmira, NY 14901

County Executive Christopher Moss