Save our antibiotics - be self-care aware

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Self-care for common infections


Many people think that they need antibiotics when they have a cold, cough or sore throat, but antibiotics don’t work on these kinds of illnesses which are caused by viruses. We need to ensure that we only use antibiotics in the right way and at the right time, otherwise they will stop being effective.


Most common infections will get better on their own without antibiotics. Many of these conditions last between 7 days and 3 weeks. If you have an infection there are a few simple steps you can take to make yourself better:-


  • Have plenty of rest.

  • Drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty.

  • Ask your local pharmacist to recommend medicines to help your symptoms or pain (or both).

  • Fever is a sign the body is fighting the infection and usually gets better by itself in most cases. You can use paracetamol if you or your child are uncomfortable as a result of a fever.

  • Use a tissue and wash your hands with soap to help prevent spread of your infection to your family, friends and others you meet.

Find out more about how you can make better use of antibiotics and help keep this vital treatment effective by visiting Antibiotics - NHS (

Never share antibiotics and always return any unused antibiotics to a pharmacy for safe disposal

The following NHS links provide advice about common infections and how to manage them including when you may need to seek advice from a healthcare professional.



Cough - NHS (


Common cold - NHS (


Conjunctivitis - NHS (


Ear infections - NHS (


High temperature (fever) in children - NHS (


Sore throat - NHS (


Sinusitis (sinus infection) - NHS (


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) - NHS (



Are you an Antibiotic Guardian?


You can use this website to register a pledge to become an Antibiotic Guardian Public | ( and the support the appropriate use of antibiotics.