About 2.8 million people have an antibiotic-resistant infection each year in the U.S., and more than 35,000 of them die.

Antibiotics are crucial for treating infections and saving lives, but at least 30% of antibiotics used in U.S. outpatient settings are prescribed unnecessarily. Misuse of antibiotics can allow bacteria to develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health today. That’s why U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, Nov. 18-24, highlights steps everyone can take to improve antibiotic prescribing and use to combat antibiotic resistance.

Health care providers can help fight antibiotic resistance by prescribing the drugs carefully and by educating patients on their use. Patients can use antibiotics correctly when they’re prescribed.

U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is a collaboration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and partners. CDC’s educational campaign, Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care, raises awareness on appropriate antibiotic use throughout the year.

Check out CDC’s free materials — including fact sheets, graphics and social media messaging — to help spread the word this week and year-round.