World Antibiotic Awareness Week
18 November – 24 November 2019
With no new types of antibiotics since the 1980’s and 700,000 people estimated to be dying globally from drug resistant infection (25K die each year in Europe) antimicrobial resistance is an undeniably serious and growing global problem, one caused by overuse and misuse of antibiotics both in human medicine and in agriculture
The World Health Organisation says “Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill.”
We need to preserve antibiotics for when we really need them and we are calling on the public to join us in tackling antibiotic resistance by listening to your GP, pharmacist or nurse’s advice and only taking antibiotics when necessary. Taking antibiotics just in case may seem like a harmless act, but it can have grave consequences for you and your family’s health in future.
Please help us to preserve antibiotics for health today and tomorrow by following the guidance below:
- Antibiotic resistance is a threat to your health
- Good hygiene is essential in reducing the risk of spread of infections and is especially important in households with individuals who have long-term illnesses
- Antibiotics do not work for ALL colds, or for most coughs, sore throats or earache. Your body can usually fight these infections on its own
- Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them. This puts you and your family at risk of a more severe or longer illness. Take your doctor or nurse’s advice when it comes to antibiotics
- Antibiotics are important medicines and should only be taken when prescribed by a health professional
- When antibiotics are prescribed by a health professional it is important that you always take them as directed, never save them for later and never share them with others
- Antibiotics can have side effects as they upset the natural balance of bacteria potentially resulting in diarrhoea and/or thrush. The use of inappropriate antibiotics may also allow other more harmful bacteria to increase. Antibiotics also cause other side effects such as rashes, stomach pains and reactions to sunlight
- Antibiotic resistant bacteria don’t just affect you, they can spread to other people (and animals) in close contact with you and are very difficult to treat
- 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 recommend 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 that the body is fighting infection and most fevers will get better on their own. Use paracetamol if you or your child are feeling uncomfortable
- Make sure to use a tissue for your nose and wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading your infection to family and friends
- If you’re worried, speak to a doctor who will be able to advise you on the best treatment for your symptoms
- For more information on antibiotics visit: www.nhs.uk/nhsengland/arc/pages/aboutarc.aspx.
- become an Antibiotic Guardian and protect yourself, your family and friends against the spread of antibiotic resistance at www.antibioticguardian.com.