HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Wolf proclaimed November 16 through November 22 "Get Smart about Antibiotics Week" in Pennsylvania to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and the importance of using antibiotics responsibly. In recognition of the week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health joined Pennsylvania's Get Smart program to host a statewide art competition open to children aged 12 and under.
"The drawing competition was a fun activity that also conveyed a very important message for children, their families, and their teachers," said Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy. "Antibiotics are drugs that treat illnesses caused by bacteria, but they don't work effectively on viral infections. Because of the overuse and misuse of these drugs, we are seeing more and more instances of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Avoiding unnecessary antibiotics is a powerful message for all Pennsylvanians."
The Pennsylvania Get Smart Program aims to decrease the need for unnecessary antibiotics by preventing illnesses before they occur. The competition gave children the opportunity to display their creativity and help spread the word about the importance of hand hygiene, vaccines, and appropriate antibiotic use.
"Giving children an opportunity to express themselves through creative activities that promote healthful practices offers immediate and lasting benefits," said Dr. Marian Michaels, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
Each year, as many as 10 million children in the Unites States are at risk for harmful side effects from antibiotic prescriptions because viruses, which are not cured by antibiotics, cause many infections among children.
The overuse of antibiotics contributes to the rise in antibiotic resistance, which results in at least 23,000 preventable deaths in the United States annually.
For more information about the Get Smart Program and Get Smart about Antibiotics Week, visit www.health.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Amy Worden or Yasmin Coleman, Department of Health, 717-787-1783
Editor's Note: A full list of this year's children's art competition winners is below:
First Place: Eliana Maneval (Richfield)
Second Place: Ashley Dasika (Wyomissing)
Third Place: Genna Rainy (Drums)
First Place: Jude Renee Botero (Mechanicsburg)
Second Place: Sara Bender (Camp Hill)
Third Place: Iman Yahya (Philadelphia)
First Place: Angelina Beshore (York Springs)
Second Place: Sameeha Gaing (Mechanicsburg)
Third Place: Julie Papp (Sugarloaf)
First Place: Zakkary Tomcho (Union City)
Second Place: Ruhi Govil (Camp Hill)
Third Place: Keira LeMay (Milford)
Ages 4 and under:
First Place: Cheyene Oosterkamp (Union City)
Second Place: Addison Manno (Union City)
Third Place: Wyatt Lentz (Camp Hill)
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health