PHA Promote Correct Use Of Antibiotics

The future of antibiotics depends on all of us to use them properly, the Public Health Agency has said.

Ahead of World Antibiotics Awareness Week, 18-24 November, members of the public are urged to help keep antibiotics working.

Research has shown that a continued rise in resistance could, by 2050, lead to 10 million people dying every year as a result.

As health professionals fear we are running out of time to act, members of the public are urged to remember these five steps when ill:

1. Most simple infections clear up on their own. You can visit your pharmacist for advice. Over-the-counter medicines may help you to manage your symptoms.

2. If you do see your doctor, they'll assess your symptoms and advise you on the correct treatment. Take your doctor's advice and don't demand antibiotics.

3. If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic make sure you take it according to your doctor's instructions.

4. Complete the course and don't just stop because you're feeling a bit better.

5. Never share antibiotics with anyone else.

Dr Jenny Mack, Public Health Doctor at the PHA, said: "If we continue to use antibiotics at the current rate, we could face a return to the days before they existed, when people died from simple infections and where the risk of infection made routine surgery life threatening.
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"Antibiotics are important medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Because antibiotics are not always used appropriately, bacteria are becoming resistant.

"As a result, some antibiotics have become less effective against the bacterial infections they were designed to treat. Infections caused by resistant bacteria can be very difficult to treat and can be serious.

"In recent years few new antibiotics have been discovered. We need to protect the antibiotics we have, to ensure they continue to work now and in the future.

"Antibiotic resistance is a threat to you and your family's health. But you can help by taking some simple steps.

"Only take antibiotics when they are prescribed by your doctor.

"Remember, antibiotics are not effective against simple infections, such as a cold or flu. Most coughs, sore throats or earaches do not need antibiotics. Your body can usually fight these infections on its own.

"Your local pharmacist can provide advice and there are over-the-counter medicines to help manage your symptoms."

Anyone worried should speak to their doctor for advice on the best option of treatment. If prescribed an antibiotic, ensure you take it according to instructions and complete the course.

Click here for more info on antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.


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