As winter sets in and more people begin to suffer coughs and colds, 'man flu' and other strains of the virus, we're being reminded that antibiotics should be taken responsibly and that they shouldn't be taken for every ailment.
As European Antibiotic Awareness Day was marked yesterday, health officials around the continent took the opportunity to remind people when they should and shouldn't be prescribed and taken.
It has been widely reported that antibiotic resistance has increased in some countries in recent years and very few new antibiotics are being marketed.
Pictured: Guernsey's Princess Elizabeth Hospital.
Geraldine O’Riordan, Prescribing Advisor says that shouldn't put people off taking them if they are genuinely needed though.
“This is not about never using antibiotics, it is about using them wisely.
"Antibiotics aren't effective for common viral infections such as a cold. They cannot help you recover from a cold or a ‘flu faster or prevent the spread to other people. For adults who are otherwise healthy, common viral infections and many milder bacterial infections will resolve in a few days without active treatment. These drugs can cause unpleasant side effects and increase resistance to the drugs in individuals and in the community. Without urgent action from us all, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become much riskier."
Elaine Burgess, Head of Acute Nursing Care said:
“If antibiotics are prescribed as clinically indicated, they should be taken as directed and never saved for later. The temptation to lobby for antibiotics can be overwhelming, so HSC advice remains committed to highlighting the risks that come with inappropriate use of antibiotics. As the General Public has a critical role to play and can help by taking collective action.”
Pictured: Antibiotics won't help with a cold.
if you have a cold but are otherwise fit and healthy you're advised to self-care, which includes drinking plenty of fluids, try to keep warm and rest. Community pharmacies can advise about over the counter products.
People over the age of 65 and those at high risk of ‘flu are strongly advised to have a ‘flu jab if they have not already done so though.
Ms O’Riordan said:
“There were about 13,000 fewer courses of antibiotics prescribed on the islands in 2018 than in 2012. I believe that this is due to collaborative working between primary and secondary care over many years, as well as the engagement of our patients. Our local guidelines have recently been updated and can now be accessed via an app on a mobile device. The savings of £76,000 have remained available to fund the increasing number of services required by our community.”
Pictured top: File image.
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