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Take care not antibiotics

17 November 2016


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Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding local people that we should only use antibiotics when they are absolutely needed to avoid overuse which can lead to resistant infections.  

This is especially important in winter when coughs and colds are circulating: many of us may be tempted to visit the GP for antibiotics, but patients are being warned that if they’re not needed they won’t be prescribed.  In fact, 44% of all people who visit the GP suffering from a cold or flu incorrectly believe they need antibiotics1.

Fiona Garnett, Director of Medicines Management at NHS Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group explains: “Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections. Bacteria is very smart. It finds ways to become immune to the antibiotics that we take, making them less effective and in some cases stops them working, so we have to use them sensibly.

“Most sore throats, such as tonsillitis, are viral infections so taking antibiotics won’t have any effect. The best thing people can do is visit their pharmacist who will advise on suitable over the counter remedies to ease the symptoms.  Importantly, remember to take plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.”

Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics when they are over-used; if they are not taken as prescribed, or the course isn’t finished.

Fiona added: “If people don’t finish the course because they quickly feel better, then some of the bacteria might still be in your system. It then mutates and develops a resistance to that antibiotic so that it is less likely to be as effective next time.”

You should never share your antibiotics with anyone else because you don’t know their medical history.

For more information about staying well this winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell 

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