On European Antibiotics Awareness Day, NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS SFCCG) is reminding people that antibiotics won’t help them recover from mild winter illnesses like colds, sniffles and sore throats, and may make them resistant to these drugs, which won’t help their health in the longer term.
Antibiotics remain one of our most important medicines for fighting bacterial infection. However, when they are overused bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic – becoming ‘antibiotic resistant’, so that the antibiotic no longer works. This makes treating serious infections like MRSA and C.Difficle much harder, where the consequences for patients are far worse than enduring the symptoms of a cold.
Dr Hilal Mulla, NHS SFCCG’s clinical lead for medicines, said: “The more you use an antibiotic, the more bacteria become resistant to it. It is important we use antibiotics in the right way, like all medicines, to make sure people are prescribed the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time, and for the right length of time.”
Over the past few years, Sefton has achieved a significant reduction in the prescribing of high risk antibiotics, through better, more appropriate prescribing of these drugs. Sefton has gone from being amongst the highest prescribers of high risk antibiotics in 2008 to now being one of the lowest in the North West. Good prescribing of these medicines not only ensures that patients get the best treatment for their illnesses, but also helps antibiotics to remain as effective as possible, for as long as possible.
Hilal said: “Many antibiotics are prescribed and used for mild infections when they don’t need to be. All colds and most coughs, sinusitis, earache and sore throats often get better without antibiotics.”
NHS SFCCG is continuing to work hard to reduce ‘antibiotic resistance’ by working closely with health professionals around more appropriate prescribing of these drugs.
Hilal added: “So, if your doctor does not prescribe you antibiotics, it means that they won’t be effective in treating your illness. However, if you are prescribed antibiotics make sure you take them as directed to ensure they are as effective as possible.”
This means you should:
- Complete the full course of antibiotics prescribed to you
- Don’t skip a dose of antibiotics
- Make sure you take your tablets at regular intervals
- Don’t save some for later
For more information about European Antibiotics Awareness Day on 18 November visit http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/EAAD/Pages/Home.aspx