NHS Ayrshire & Arran is backing this year’s European Antibiotic Awareness week by asking local residents to consider if they really need antibiotics to treat their illness.
Many people assume antibiotics cure common illnesses such as colds and flu. But taking too many antibiotics too often can lessen their effectiveness in the future. The key facts about antibiotic use in this year’s campaign include:
Antibiotics won’t work for colds or flu. Antibiotics are effective only against bacterial infections – they cannot help you recover from infections caused by viruses such as common colds or flu.
Antibiotics do not prevent viruses from spreading to other people.
Taking antibiotics for wrong reasons, such as against colds or flu, offers no benefits for you.
Misuse of antibiotics only causes bacteria to become resistant to antibiotic treatments. So when you need antibiotics in the future they may no longer work.
Antibiotics often give you side-effects such as diarrhoea.
Always seek your doctor’s advice before taking antibiotics.
Dr Nicholas Reid, Principal Antimicrobial Pharmacist for NHS Ayrshire & Arran, said: “It is very important that people know what antibiotics are used for. Suffering from a cold of flu can make us feel miserable but, unfortunately, antibiotics just won’t work with these types of illnesses. In fact, we know that coughs and colds get better just as quickly without antibiotics.”
NHS Ayrshire & Arran staff will be out and about in local supermarkets helping to raise antibiotic awareness. People can get more information by visiting antibiotic.ecdc.europa.eu/
Dr Reid added: “Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics when you need them. By not using them unnecessarily, they are more likely to work when we need them.”