Antibiotics aren’t always necessary, advise local clinical leadersLocal clinical leaders are reminding people that antibiotics are not always necessary to treat illness.
The advice from the three local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs): Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, Bradford City and Bradford Districts is being issued to coincide with European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD), on 18 November - a day to encourage responsible use of antibiotics.
Antibiotics have been one of the greatest breakthroughs in medicine and have saved millions of lives. But there is growing concern that overuse is making them less effective as bacteria develop resistance.
EAAD sets out actions to slow the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance, and this year, Public Health England, a supporter of EAAD, has established the Antibiotic Guardian pledge campaign.
It calls on everyone in the UK, the public and medical community to become antibiotics guardians, choosing a simple pledge about how they will make better use of these vital medicines.
Dr Andy Withers, clinical lead for NHS Bradford Districts CCG, said: “Antibiotics are important medicines for treating bacterial infections but they are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate. To slow down the development of antibiotic resistance it is important that we don’t misuse antibiotics.
“Our message is that most infections will get better without antibiotics. Many people believe they need antibiotics to treat coughs and colds. The vast majority of coughs and colds are caused by a virus and do not respond to antibiotics so a visit to the doctor is usually not necessary.”
Colds can be treated at home with self-care. Symptoms can be eased by taking over-the-counter medication, such as paracetamol, and drinking plenty of fluids. Local pharmacists can provide good advice about available remedies; they can also advise which medications are suitable for children.
“Of course there are times, when antibiotics are needed but then it is vital that they are used properly. This means using the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time for the right duration,” added Dr Withers.
“It is important to remember that antibiotics should be taken as prescribed, never saved for later or shared with others.”
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