The Pennsylvania Department of Health kicked off Antibiotic Awareness Week by telling residents to know when they should use an antibiotic.

According to the release, an antibiotic kills or stops the growth of bacteria and treat several common and more severe infections.

They say antibiotics do not kill viruses, and they will not properly treat a cold, flu, sore throat or a runny nose.

According to CDC data, at least 30 percent of antibiotics in the U.S. outpatient setting are prescribed unnecessarily.

The release says when antibiotics are used incorrectly, antibiotic resistance can develop.

The CDC says that each year, approximately two million people in the U.S. become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Below are some tips to reduce the amount of antibiotics:

  • Make sure your health care providers, such as doctors, nurses, and dentists, perform hand hygiene and wear gloves if appropriate before treating you
  • Sneeze or cough in your elbow to prevent the spread of germs-If you sneeze or cough into your hands perform hand hygiene immediately afterward
  • Avoid close contact with others if you are sick 
  • Always wash your hands with soap and warm water before touching or eating food, after using the bathroom, taking out the trash, changing a diaper, when caring for someone with norovirus or C. difficile infection or when hands are visibly soiled