City and Hackney residents are being urged to always take their healthcare professional’s advice on antibiotics to help prevent antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside the body to become resistant. That means that antibiotics might no longer work when they are really needed.
It is estimated that 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections. This figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.
Public Health England’s ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign is urging people to always take healthcare professionals’ advice as to when they need antibiotics, while providing self-care advice to help residents and their families feel better if they are not prescribed antibiotics.
Professor Paul Cosford, Medical Director, Public Health England, said: “Antibiotics are an essential part of modern medicine, keeping people safe from infection when they are at their most vulnerable. It’s concerning that, in the not too distant future, we may see more cancer patients, mothers who’ve had caesareans and patients who’ve had other surgery facing life-threatening situations if antibiotics fail to ward off infections.
“We need to preserve antibiotics for when we really need them and we are calling on the public to join us in tackling antibiotic resistance by listening to your GP, pharmacist or nurse’s advice and only taking antibiotics when necessary. Taking antibiotics just in case may seem like a harmless act, but it can have grave consequences for you and your family’s health in future."
The City and Hackney CCG are asking residents to become ‘Antibiotic Guardians’ by choosing one simple pledge about making better use of antibiotics. Residents can make a pledge by visiting: www/antibioticguardian.com
Resources, including posters and leaflets, to raise antibiotic awareness can be found by visiting: www.antibioticguardian.com/public/
For further information on antibiotics, their uses and the risk of resistance, search ‘NHS Antibiotics’ online.