Keep antibiotics working
Taking antibiotics when you don't need them puts you and your family at risk. That’s the message to residents across Frimley Health and Care this World Antibiotic Awareness Week (18-24 November).
Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, but they are frequently being used to treat minor illnesses, such as coughs, earache and sore throats, that can get better by themselves.
Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. This means antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
Sarah Bellars, Executive Director of Nursing and Quality for NHS Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “For antibiotics to continue to be an effective treatment in medicine they need to be used responsibly and only when really needed.
“Pharmacists can advise on simple self-care treatments and over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms. Patients should not expect their GP to prescribe antibiotics when they are not necessary.
“Trust your doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice as to when you need antibiotics, and if they are prescribed, take antibiotics as directed and never save them for later use or share them with others.”
Overuse and misuse of antibiotics is leading to bacteria resistant to antibiotics which could mean many important procedures, such as operations and cancer treatment, become increasingly dangerous in the future.
For further information on antibiotic resistance visit www.nhs.uk/antibiotics.
Dr Huw Thomas, GP and the Clinical Chair of NHS Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Antibiotics are rarely needed for coughs or sore throats because they are usually caused by a virus.
“This winter, it’s vital that eligible people come forward to have their Covid-19 booster vaccine and flu jab to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
If you or a family member are feeling unwell, have a cold or flu and you haven’t been prescribed antibiotics, here are some effective self care ways to help you feel better:
- ask your pharmacist to recommend medicines to help with symptoms or pain
- get plenty of res to make sure you or your child drink enough to avoid feeling thirsty
- fever is a sign that the body is fighting infection and most fevers will get better on their own.
For more information on local health and care services available if you are feeling unwell, visit the Frimley Health and Care website.
If you are worried about the health of a child, you can visit the NHS Frimley Healthier Together website. Developed by local GPs and paediatricians, the site provides expert advice and support to parents and carers to help them manage a range of common childhood illnesses themselves and equally recognise when they need call their GP, 111 or visit the emergency department.
The site gives clear information for each symptom in a traffic system, red for the emergency department, amber for GP and green for self care. This way parents and carers can be reassured they are taking appropriate action at home and know when they need more specialist help.
Frimley Healthier Together can help parents feel more comfortable to make the right decisions about what to do next for their child’s care. Visit https://frimley-healthiertogether.nhs.uk/.
Notes for editors
Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System (ICS) is a formal partnership of health and social care organisations working together to improve services for the 800,000 people across East Berkshire, North East Hampshire and Farnham and Surrey Heath. The ICS includes NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioners, GP federations and out-of-hours GP providers, Hampshire and Surrey County Councils and Bracknell Forest District Council.