Handle antibiotics with care

Friday, November 11, 2016

Health commissioners in Sefton supporting the World Antibiotic Resistance Week which takes place 14-20 November.

Health professionals from NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG will be raising awareness of antibiotic resistance and encouraging colleagues, patients, family and friends to make a pledge about making better use of antibiotics and becoming an antibiotic guardian.

The theme of the week is ‘Antibiotics: Handle with Care’, reflecting the message that antibiotics are a precious resource and should be preserved.

Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy and animal health all rely on access to antibiotics that work. According to the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (2016), by 2050, the death toll could be a staggering one person every three seconds if antibiotic resistance is not tackled now.

Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management at the CCGs, explains: “Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate. Over 35 million antibiotics were prescribed nationally by GPs last year. The more we use antibiotics, the greater the chance bacteria will become resistant to them and they can no longer be used to treat infections. We shouldn’t be using antibiotics for colds or sore throats for example as your body can usually fight these infections alone."

“We can all help to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance by using antibiotics in the right way. There are very few new antibiotics in the development pipeline, which is why it is important we use our existing antibiotics wisely and make sure these life-saving medicines continue to stay effective for ourselves our children and grandchildren.”

Below are the top tips to prevent antibiotic resistance and using antibiotics effectively:

  • Good hygiene is essential in reducing the risk of spread of infections
  • Antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial infections and only prescribed by a certified health professional
  • They should be taken at regular intervals, never be shared and the full course of treatment should be completed – not saved for the future.
  • Antibiotics do not work for colds, or for most coughs, sore throat, earache or viral infections. Your body can usually fight these infections on its own. Please consider alternatives and speak to your local pharmacist about over the counter remedies.
  • The more we use antibiotics, the greater the chance that bacteria will become resistant to them so that they no longer work on our infections.
  • If you are eligible for a flu jab, please ensure you are vaccinated to prevent the spread of infection.

Please sign up and encourage your family/friends and colleagues to be an antibiotic guardian by taking a pledge to show how you will act to support the prevention of antimicrobial resistance at www.antibioticguardian.com.

Pledges can be as simple as talking to the pharmacist about treating cold and respiratory symptoms and ensuring your hands are washed for at least 30 seconds.

So far just over 34,000 people have signed up, please get your friends and family to sign up today.

Make a News Comment