Prescribing antibiotics that aren’t necessary helps superbugs more than patients

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Patients in East Staffordshire are being asked to play their part in solving one of the greatest challenges facing medicine today and understand why they may not be prescribed antibiotics. 

There is a real and increasing danger that antibiotics are losing their effectiveness. Superbugs are becoming resistant to them, and the two main causes are that they are being prescribed too often or are not taken as prescribed. 

This resistance could mean some illnesses like pneumonia, which have been largely controlled by antibiotics, could become major causes of death once again. Each year 25,000 people across Europe die from infections resistant to antibiotics. 

Dr Charles Pidsley of East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Patients and doctors need to work together to tackle what has become an international health issue. 

“Antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives since they first became available. But antibiotic resistance is now a real danger to us all. 

“People often go straight to their GP for antibiotics when they have a cough, a cold or even flu, not realising that antibiotics are only effective against bacteria and won’t work on these viral conditions. 

“Prescribing antibiotics for any condition that doesn’t really require them is now widely seen as counter-productive and we need to help patients understand this.” 

Antibiotics can also have unpleasant side effects. These include:

  • sickness
  • diarrhoea
  • stomach pains
  • headaches
  • thrush 

Dr Pidsley said: “We never want to go back to the days where people routinely died from conditions like pneumonia. We all have a part to play in making sure this does not happen.” 

“Viral conditions like colds, coughs, sore throats and earache are self-limiting conditions that will get better by themselves. Often the best thing is to take medicines like paracetamol to control your symptoms and keep well hydrated. Alternatively, you can visit a pharmacist, who will be able to advise on common illnesses like the cold and how best to manage them.” 

For more information about antibiotic resistance, and how you can get involved visit www.antibioticguardian.com