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Healthwatch Worcestershire (HWW)
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Antibiotics – To be taken seriously!
By Dr Helen Rosewarne
Antibiotics are lifesaving drugs which have revolutionised the medical care in the last 80 years. They are important medicines which fight only bacteria. However resistance to bacteria is a growing problem in Europe. As a result of inappropriate use and prescribing antibiotics, the bacteria are learning to adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic. The more an antibiotic is used, the more bacteria become resistant to it. In addition, few new antibiotics are being developed. As resistance in bacteria grows and with no new drugs available, it will be more difficult to treat infections and this affects patient care. Many people believe that antibiotics can cure common health problems, such as coughs and colds, sore throats and earaches. These are most often viral infections which cannot be treated by antibiotics. Not only will the antibiotic be of no benefit, they will become less effective against the bacteria they are intended to treat.
What can I do?
It is important that we use antibiotics in the right way, to slow down resistance and make sure these lifesaving medicines remain effective for us and future generations. Antibiotics should only be taken when prescribed by a health professional. They should be the correct medicine for your illness at the right dose – do not be tempted to use “left over” antibiotics from previous prescriptions. Antibiotics should be taken as directed because not finishing the whole course can also lead to antibiotic resistance. Many antibiotics are prescribed for mild infections when they do not need to be. Colds and most coughs, sinusitis, earache and sore throats often get better without antibiotics. No one likes feeling unwell but in a lot of cases antibiotics will not speed up your recovery. Your body’s natural defences will fight the infections and help us save antibiotics for cases where they may be essential and even lifesaving now and for the future.
If you do feel ill and are concerned you are not fighting an infection, please call the surgery for advice. With the autumn and winter months just around the corner please have a think about how you can help in the important fight against antibiotic resistance.
With thanks for your support from the staff at Great Witley Surgery.
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