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We need your help to fight antibiotic resistance

Homepage » News » We need your help to fight antibiotic resistance

We need your help to fight antibiotic resistance

Posted on Thursday 19th November 2015

An NHS Antibiotic Guardian campaign is helping to fight the rise in drug resistant infections.

With the antibiotics that we use to fight infections becoming less effective and possibly obsolete in the future, the campaign is calling for us all to work together to preserve these essential medicines.

The problem already causes hundreds of thousands of people to die every year from drug resistant infections.

And with a greater number of bacteria becoming resistant to our antibiotics there will be more deaths, and more complications for people receiving treatment in hospital, in the future.

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance states that drug-resistant infections could kill an extra 10 million people across the world every year by 2050 if they are not tackled, and by this date they could also cost the world around $100 trillion in lost output.

The two main causes identified for the problem are that we often take antibiotics that we don’t need, for instance for coughs or colds which antibiotics don’t help, and we regularly don’t take antibiotics as prescribed, sometimes missing doses or attempting to save the medicine for the future or to give to someone else.

Clive Graham, Consultant Medical Microbiologist at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said, “We are keen for people to understand how to treat illnesses and to know when antibiotics can help. It is particularly important to get the message across that antibiotics have no effect on viruses that cause most coughs and colds, and that these illnesses usually get better on their own. Your pharmacist or doctor can best advise you on your care, particularly if you have worrying symptoms or other illnesses.”

Monika Pasztor, Consultant Microbiologist at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, added, “It is important to inform patients of the side effects that antibiotics have. For example, antibiotics fight all bacteria, so although they work to fight the bacteria that cause infections, they also kill the good bacteria in our bodies. They can harm the gut flora that keeps us healthy and then cause abdominal disturbances, such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you at unnecessary risk of these problems.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, said,“Antimicrobial resistance is a very real threat. If we have no suitable antibiotics to treat infection, minor surgery and routine operations could become high risk procedures.”

Everyone can act now to help save modern medicine by becoming an Antibiotic Guardian.  

The Antibiotic Guardian campaign supports the UK 5-year Antimicrobial Resistance strategy and asks the public, as well as health leaders and health professionals, to choose one simple pledge about how they will make better use of antibiotics and help save these vital medicines from becoming obsolete.

The campaign highlights the key areas where we can all cut down on the miss-use of antibiotics. These are:

  • To overcome infections that our bodies are good at fighting off on their own, like coughs, colds, sore throats and flu, try treating the symptoms for five days, or talk to your pharmacist about how to treat the symptoms first rather than going to your GP.
  • To prevent antibiotics from getting into the environment, take any unused antibiotics to your pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • Accept a flu vaccination if you are offered one by the NHS.
  • If you are prescribed antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed and never share them with others.

The campaign has so far received over 16,000 pledges and we want to get as many more people as possible to join the campaign today.

To become an Antibiotic Guardian please visit www.antibioticguardian.com| and then make one simple pledge that you can take forward to help stop the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

Posted on Thursday 19th November 2015


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