To mark antibiotics awareness week, we are supporting the Public Health England campaign to “Keep Antibiotics Working” and encouraging people to sign up to be an antibiotics guardian (www.antibioticguardian.com).
By pledging online, local residents will promise to use antibiotics wisely to ensure they, and their communities, continue to benefit from these medicines in future.
Professor Mayur Lakhani, GP and Chair of West Leicestershire CCG said: “Many antibiotics are prescribed and used for mild infections when they don’t need to be. Colds and most coughs, sinusitis, otitis media (earache) and sore throats get better without antibiotics.
“Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. This means that antibiotics may not work when you need them next time.
“If you take antibiotics, when you don’t need them, the next time you get an infection it is more likely that antibiotics will not work, making it harder to treat. This is even more likely for children who have taken antibiotics.”
It is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections.
Currently there are globally 700,000 deaths a year due to antibiotic resistance. Failure to address this problem could result in an estimated 10 million deaths globally a year by 2050; more deaths than cancer and diabetes combined.
There are other treatments and medicines available to help relieve many common symptoms. You may not need to see your GP to ask them for antibiotics.
Community pharmacists are well placed to help provide advice on over the counter medicines to treat symptoms of minor illnesses and help with self-care.
Always take your doctor’s advice on antibiotics.
For further information on antibiotic resistance search ‘NHS antibiotics’