Think before asking for antibiotics, say Lambeth GPs
GPs across Lambeth are calling on local residents to become Antibiotic Guardians and think before asking their GP for antibiotics to treat common conditions like coughs and colds in support of World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW 14 to 20 November and European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) on Friday 18 November.
The Antibiotic Guardian campaign was first launched by Public Health England in 2014. There is growing concern that the overuse of antibiotics for common illnesses such as coughs and colds would make them much less effective at fighting potentially dangerous infections in the future. This is known as antibiotic resistance.
“Too often, people see antibiotics as a ‘magic cure’ for everything from coughs and colds to sore throats” explains Dr Adrian McLachlan, local GP and Chair of Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). “The truth is that antibiotics have little or no effect against such illnesses which are caused by viruses.
“Bacteria are clever little things and are able to mutate and start to find ways to fight back against the antibiotics that are supposed to kill them.
“This in turn means that antibiotics start to lose their ability to fight bacterial infections – so previously treatable conditions potentially become much more serious.”
Every year, 25,000 people across Europe die from hospital infections caused by five key resistant bacteria such as MRSA. In England alone, one in 3 people take at least one course of antibiotics per year. With these figures, it’s easy to see how infections are beginning to fight back.
“We’re asking Lambeth residents to think before going to their GP and asking for antibiotics” continues Adrian.
“Antibiotics have no effect against many common illnesses like coughs, colds and sore throats which are caused by viruses. It’s much more effective for you to ask your pharmacist for advice and self care at home with simple, over the counter medication like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
“Only taking antibiotics when you really need them will help to ensure that they continue to be effective weapons in the fight against infections in the future.”