Keep antibiotics working

Keep antibiotics working

We’re all aware of the resistance to antibiotics we’re building up as a result of relying on antibiotics when it comes to common colds or chest infection. With growing concerns about the future of antibiotics, Public Health England are launching a campaign to try and alert people of the risks of antibiotic resistance. The Keep Antibiotics Working campaign is even being backed by celebrity doctor and Strictly star, Dr Ranj Singh.

It highlights the importance of not taking antibiotics if they’re not needed, urging people to always take their doctor, nurse or healthcare professional’s advice on antibiotics. Health experts are concerned that if we continue to take antibiotics regularly as we currently do, various procedures and operations could become life threatening, as we’d become resistant to the antibiotics used to heal us.

According to new data published by PHE, over three million common procedures, such as caesarean sections and hip and knee replacements, and cancer treatments could become life-threatening without antibiotics.

Antibiotics are a vital tool to manage infections and are critically important in preventing infections that can be a consequence of surgery and in people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients.

Despite knowing the personal risks of antibiotic resistance , research shows that 38 per cent of us still expect to be prescribed antibiotics from a doctor’s surgery, NHS walk-in centre or GP out of hours service when visiting with a cough, flu or a throat, ear, sinus or chest infection in 2017. However, antibiotics are not needed to treat minor illnesses and should only be used when your doctor thinks you can’t get better without them.

Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses such as coughs, earache and sore throats which can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

Dr Ranj Singh, comments: “As a doctor I regularly hear people tell me that they think they need antibiotics, for example if they have earache or a sore throat, which generally will get better without them. Often, after we’ve had a conversation, those patients are happy to take my advice and they do get better without antibiotics. I’m supporting this campaign to encourage people to talk to their GP about antibiotics and to always take their doctor’s advice. It’s vital for people to understand that taking antibiotics when they’re not needed means they are much less likely to work for people who really need them.”