Calderdale – The future of antibiotics is in our hands.
Let’s Get a Grip on Antibiotics is a campaign that aims to raise awareness of antibiotic use across Calderdale and encourage people to pledge to keep antibiotics working. If we continue to misuse antibiotics, in the future they could stop working altogether, so it’s now more important than ever that they are taken correctly.
Without effective antibiotics, many common treatments will become increasingly dangerous – including setting broken bones, treatments for cancer and routine operations including hip replacements and caesarean sections.
Bacteria, the bugs causing the infections, are very clever – they evolve. If one germ is ‘born’ better equipped to cope with antibiotic attack, it’s more likely to survive and pass on its genes to the next generation. Bacteria multiply every few minutes, rather than over many years like humans. They also produce hundreds of offspring. That means evolution happens at terrifying speed.
This is what we mean by ‘antibiotic resistance’ and we should all be concerned about it. It is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. A growing list of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhoea, and foodborne diseases – are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.
Recent headlines have warned of disaster on the horizon, an antibiotic apocalpsye – a world where simple cuts or minor surgery may be fatal. By 2050 superbugs could kill 10 million people per year.
We’re not there just yet, but we can all do our bit to cut antibiotic resistance without risking our health.
One way is to not always expect to receive an antibiotic for illnesses which are typically caused by a virus – not bacteria. As a general rule they are flu, coughs, colds, sore throats and ear infections.
The other way is for GPs not to feel pressured into prescribing this type of medicine when it’s not necessary. If your Doctor says an antibiotic is not needed – trust them!
You should only ever use antibiotics when your doctor prescribes them. You should NEVER obtain antibiotics from Family or Friends, online or through any other means.
Antibiotics are used to treat different types of infections. A short or long course may be given depending on your infection. Generally, you should not have any leftover antibiotics if you complete the course as prescribed. However, if you do and you have completed the course as instructed by your doctor, then you should discard the remainder. Don’t keep them in case of another infection, or share them with others. Ideally you should take the unwanted antibiotics to a pharmacy to be disposed of safely.
If your infection comes back, it may be a sign that the antibiotics are not working. You should always see your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve, get worse or come back after treatment. Your doctor may need to give you a different antibiotic and advice on measures to help prevent the infection from coming back.
Antibiotics only treat bacterial conditions. If your condition is viral, antibiotics won’t work.
If taken correctly, antibiotics will usually treat:
- Persistent urinary tract infections (cystitis)
- Strep throat
- Bacterial skin infections
Remember antibiotics will not treat:
- Most coughs
- Most ear infections
- Most sore throats
NHS antibiotics https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antibiotics/
NHS Information about antibiotic resistance https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antibiotics/antibiotic-antimicrobial-resistance/