Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health.
On 13 February 2017, Public Health England (PHE) will launch a campaign in your region titled 'Keep Antibiotics Working' The campaign will focus on women aged 20 to 45, who have primary responsibility for family health. It is also aimed at those over 50, with a focus on those with recurrent conditions and high levels of contact with their GP.
In 2016, the North West region was highlighted as having the highest number of antibiotics prescribed in the UK. As part of the campaign health professionals from across the Trust will be raising awareness of antibiotic resistance and encouraging colleagues, patients, family and friends to make a pledge about making better use of antibiotics and also signing up to become an antibiotic guardian.
Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy and animal health all rely on access to antibiotics that work. By 2050, the death toll could be a staggering one person every three seconds if antibiotic resistance is not tackled now1.
Alison Butt, Head of Medicines Management at LCH explains: “Last year over 35 million antibiotic prescriptions were prescribed nationally by GPs. The more we use antibiotics, the greater the chance bacteria will become resistant to them and they can no longer be used to treat infections.”
“We all have a part to play and can help to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance by using antibiotics in the right way when we need them. Most coughs, colds, sore throats and vomiting do not require antibiotics as they are viral infections, so please ask your pharmacist for advice and treatment options.”
Below are the top tips to prevent antibiotic resistance and how to use antibiotics effectively:
- Good hygiene is essential in reducing the risk of spread of infections
- They should be taken at regular intervals, never be shared and the full course of treatment should be completed – not saved for the future.
- Antibiotics do not work for colds, or for most coughs, sore throat, earache or viral infections. Your body can usually fight these infections on its own. Please consider alternatives and speak to your local pharmacist about over the counter remedies.
- Antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial infections and only prescribed by a certified health professional.
- The more we use antibiotics, the greater the chance that bacteria will become resistant to them so that they no longer work on our infections.
- If you are eligible for a flu jab, please ensure you are vaccinated to prevent the spread of infection.
Please sign up and encourage your family/friends and colleagues to be an antibiotic guardian by taking a pledge to show how you will act to support the prevention of antimicrobial resistance at www.antibioticguardian.com. Pledges can be as simple as talking to the pharmacist about treating cold and respiratory symptoms and ensuring your hands are washed for at least 30 seconds.
So far just over 44,000 people have signed up, please get your friends and family to sign up today.