Posted: November 13 2015
Simon Wan, chief pharmacist at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust.
Are we looking straight at one of the biggest threats to our health? Simple answer is yes but we have the power to control it.
Antibiotic resistance is becoming a reality – we use antibiotics to treat infections by killing off the bacteria but the more we rely on them the more the bugs are fighting back and making antibiotics ineffective.
As part of European Antibiotic Awareness Day on Wednesday November 18, which also coincides with World Antibiotic Awareness Week from November 16 to 22, we urge everyone to become Antibiotic Guardians.
We all have the ability to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance and by doing so it buys time forscientiststo develop new types of antibiotics.
It is all about changing our attitude towards the use of this medicine and not expecting a GP to prescribe antibiotics to treat a cough or cold. These are usuallyviral infections which antibiotics are ineffective against.
The common cold or flu can be self-managed and people should be encouraged to rest, drink plenty of water and consult a pharmacist for advice on remedies available over the counter.
If the symptoms persist and you're concerned, see your GP, but do not expect to be prescribed antibiotics. By using antibiotics only when necessary, they are more likely to work when we need them in the future.
There are various ways in which we can all help to prevent the risk of infection that leads to the need of antibiotics such as:
• Regularly washing your hands
• Practicing good food hygiene
• Keeping vaccinations up-to-date.
To reduce the risk of developing antibiotic resistancewe should:
• Never use left-over antibiotics
• Never share antibiotics with others.
The theme for World Antibiotic Awareness Week is ‘Handle with Care’ aiming to highlight the need to protect the resources we have.
Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust fully supports the Antibiotic Guardian Campaign, which people can sign up to pledge their support in helping to slow down resistance.
To sign up, visit www.antibioticguardian.com
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