Keep antibiotics working

Taking antibiotics when you don't need them puts you and your family at risk.

That is the message of a campaign running until the end of December which warns people that taking antibiotics when they are not needed put them at risk of a more severe or longer infection.

Basildon and Brentwood CCG is joining forces with NHS colleagues across the region to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance which is seen as one of the most dangerous global crises facing the world today.

Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

The ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign urges residents to always trust their doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice as to when they need antibiotics and if they are prescribed, take antibiotics as directed and never save them for later use or share them with others. The campaign also provides effective self-care advice to help individuals and their families feel better if they are not prescribed antibiotics.

Denise Rabbette, Head of a joint dedicated Medicines Optimisation team covering both CCGs, said: “Antibiotics are rarely needed for coughs or sore throats because they are usually caused by a virus. Pharmacists can advise on simple self-care treatments and over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms. Patients should not expect their GP to prescribe antibiotics because they are usually not necessary.

“As well as the money being wasted on unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics, there is also the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics is leading to bacteria resistant to antibiotics which could mean many routine procedures, such as operations and cancer treatment, become increasingly dangerous in the future.”

The Keep Antibiotics working campaign video below warns people that taking antibiotics when they are not needed puts them at risk of a more severe or longer infection, and urges everyone to take their doctor's advice on antibiotics.

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