CCG Backs European Antibiotics Awareness Day

NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is backing the European Antibiotic Awareness Day on Friday 18th November.

European Antibiotic Awareness Day is a Europe-wide public health initiative which encourages responsible use of antibiotics.

Katy Jackson, Head of Prescribing Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Antibiotics are a crucial part of our armoury against bacterial infections. We need to use antibiotics carefully because, like any medicine, they can cause serious side-effects if used incorrectly and their over-use leads to bacterial resistance which makes them less and less effective when they are really needed.”

The best way to treat most colds, coughs or sore throats is to drink plenty of fluids and to rest.    Antibiotics only work against infections that have been caused by bacteria.  All colds and most coughs and sore throats are caused by viruses, so antibiotics won’t work on them.

Resistance to antibiotics is becoming a worrying issue for health professionals not just in Brighton and Hove but nationally.  The number of infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria is growing globally and is related to the over-use of antibiotics.

The more often an antibiotic is used, the more likely it is that bacteria will become resistant so when antibiotics are needed in the future they may no longer work.

In recent years fewer new antibiotics have been discovered, so no one knows if new antibiotics will be available to replace the old ones.

Katy Jackson continued: “Please don’t ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily; they will only be prescribed when needed, such as a kidney infection or pneumonia.  Antibiotics may be life-saving for infections such as meningitis but by not using them unnecessarily, they are more likely to work when needed.

“There are many over-the-counter medicines to help ease symptoms of coughs and colds including paracetamol, but please ask a pharmacist for advice.  If the cold lasts more than three weeks, or you become breathless, have chest pains, or already have a chest complaint, then see your doctor.

“I would also urge anyone who is aged over 65, or who is pregnant, or has a serious medical condition including a chronic (long-term) respiratory disease (severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis), diabetes, chronic kidney or liver disease, or a weakened immune system that may have been caused by chemotherapy, to contact their GP practice to arrange for a flu vaccination, if they have not already done so.”