Public Health England have launched a new national campaign, highlighting that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk of more severe or longer illness. To help keep antibiotics working you are urged to always take your doctors or nurse’s advice on antibiotics.
It is estimated that 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections and this figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.
Antibiotics help ward off infections during chemotherapy, caesarean sections and other surgery. They also treat serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, but they are being used for everyday viral infections, such as colds or flu, where they are not effective.
Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
How to look after yourself and your family:
If you or a family member are feeling unwell, have a cold or flu and you haven't been prescribed antibiotics, here are some effective self care ways to help you feel better:
- Ask your pharmacist to reccommend medicines to help with symptoms or pain
- Get plenty of rest
- Make sure you or your child drink enough to avoid feeling thirsty
- Fever is a sign the body is fighting infection and usually gets better itself in most cases. You can use paracetamol if you or your child are uncomfortable as a result of a fever
- Use a tissue for your nose and wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading your infection
Click here for further information on antibiotic use.
Health professionals, patients, health leaders and those who work with, own or treat animals are being encouraged to visit the antibiotic guardian website and choose a pledge that they can fulfil and play their part in protecting some of our most precious medicines.