Local healthcare professionals are backing World Antibiotics Awareness Week (18-24 November) by urging people to take their GP’s advice on antibiotics and help keep the medication effective.
Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) said that while antibiotics can treat serious bacterial infections they can’t be used to treat viral infections such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets.
Overuse of antibiotics, including taking them when not needed, has resulted in a world-wide antibiotic resistance that threatens to make the drug ineffective. To prevent this, healthcare professionals everywhere are only prescribing antibiotics in essential circumstances.
More than 1,300 antibiotic items are currently prescribed by GP practices in BNSSG every day. Although this has reduced substantially over that past five years, from 1,740 a day in 2014, more reductions are still needed in order to fight antibiotic resistance.
Local GP and Clinical Lead for Prescribing at BNSSG CCG, Dr Shaba Nabi, said: “It’s good news that the number of antibiotics being prescribed across BNSSG is going down but we still need to reduce the number further if we are to reach the national ambition to reduce UK antimicrobial use in humans ensuring that antibiotics are only used appropriately.
“GP practices across BNSSG ensure antibiotics are only prescribed when needed and we therefore ask patients to take their healthcare professional's advice on when they do not need antibiotics.”
Antibiotics are not needed for flu, most ear infections, sore throats, diarrhoea and cystitis but may be prescribed for serious bacterial infections including pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
The overuse of antibiotics in recent years has also led to the emergence of ‘superbugs’ such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and Clostridium difficile (C.diff). These types of infections can be serious and challenging to treat.
Everyone can help the fight against antibiotics resistance by taking the right advice from health care professionals.
Dr Nabi added: “It’s really important to only take antibiotics that have been prescribed for you and if you need further advice on how to manage your symptoms please speak to your local pharmacist.”
You can find out more about antibiotic resistance and become and Antibiotic Guardian here https://antibioticguardian.com/