Do your bit to keep antibiotics working

antibiotic awareness weekIt’s that time of year when the weather is getting colder and we may be more susceptible to colds and other bugs going around.

Local Authority and NHS partners across Coventry and Warwickshire have been working together to help tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance, and are launching a “Keep Antibiotics Working” campaign this November – reminding people that we need to save antibiotics for when they are really needed.

Antibiotics are essential to treat bacterial infections, but they do not work on viruses, so antibiotics cannot treat infections such as colds and flu. Taking antibiotics when they may not be needed, encourages harmful bacteria that live inside us to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when we really need them.

There are some key things that we can all do to keep our antibiotics working:

  • Prevent infections and stop them spreading by:
    • checking you and your family have had all your immunisations
    • washing your hands regularly with soap and water (especially before eating, after going to the toilet, and after coughing/sneezing)
    • catching coughs/sneezes in a tissue (and binning it)
  • Remember, cold/flu viruses and stomach viruses, like norovirus, can’t be treated with antibiotics - they usually get better with rest, fluids and over-the-counter remedies. See here for more information, including when and where to seek advice
  • Only take antibiotics when you need them, when advised by your GP. Find out more about when antibiotics are needed here
  • Always take your healthcare professional’s advice on antibiotics
  • Always take the full course of any antibiotics you are prescribed and never share with others.

Shade Agboola, Director of Public Health at Warwickshire County Council, said: “We recognise that antimicrobial resistance is not just a local, but a national and international public health problem. We are proud to be a key partner in this Coventry and Warwickshire-wide initiative to look at how we can play our part in keeping our antibiotics working.”

Evangelos Vryonis, Infectious Diseases Consultant at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, advises: “As certain bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections become less effective. This can have serious health implications for the person with the infection as well as their family and other people who may become infected as a result.

“In addition, taking measures to reduce your chances of catching an infection are also important. As illnesses are spreading, you can take steps, such as making sure you regularly wash your hands with soap and water, to reduce your chances of catching an infection in the first place.”

For more information, and for ways to help the fight against antibiotic resistance, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antibiotics/

 

 

 

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