Antibiotic Awareness

Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by Bacteria, for example:

  • Sepsis
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • STI’s ; gonorrhoea
  • Meningococcal Meningitis

They are not used to treat Viral Infections, for example:

  • Colds
  • Sore Throats
  • Coughs

However, should they last for more than 3 weeks, you become breathless, or have chest pains then contact the surgery right away.

  • How should I treat my cold?

Drink plenty of fluids and rest. Colds can last about 2 weeks and can end with a cough and production of phlegm.  There are over the counter remedies to help with symptoms which Pharmacies can give, aswell as advice.

  •  What about my children?

It is common for children to get colds and coughs especially due to being at school with other children. Again Pharmacies can prescribe over the counter remedies, as well as advice.

  • What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are vital medicines to treat infections caused by bacteria. Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive an antibiotic. They become antibiotic resistant, which means that the antibiotic no longer kills the bacteria.

The more we use an antibiotic, the more likely it is that bacteria will become resistant to it. Some bacteria that cause infections in hospitals, such as MRSA, are resistant to several antibiotics.

  • Why can’t other antibiotics be used instead?

Other antibiotics can be used, but they may not be as effective and they may have more side effects. Eventually, the bacteria will become resistant to them too.

We cannot be sure new antibiotics will be found to replace old ones.  In recent years fewer antibiotics have been discovered.

  • How can antibiotic resistance be avoided?

By using antibiotics carefully and less often, we can slow down the development of resistance. It is not possible to stop it completely, but slowing it down stops resistance spreading and buys some time to develop new types of antibiotics.

  • What can I do about antibiotic resistance?

You should only use antibiotics when it is appropriate to do so. We now know that most coughs and colds get better just as quickly without antibiotics.

When antibiotics are prescribed, the complete course should be taken to get rid of the bacteria completely. If the course is not completed, some bacteria may be left to develop resistance.

  • So when will I be prescribed antibiotics?

Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics when you NEED them. Antibiotics may be life-saving for infections such as meningitis. By using them only when necessary, they are more likely to work when we need them in future.

http://www.nhsinform.scot/antibiotics ; www.nhsinform.co.uk/health-library/articles/a/antibiotics-penicillins