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​Become an Antibiotic Guardian this World Antibiotic Awareness Week

As we approach World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019 (18 – 24 November), we are encouraging everyone to become an Antibiotic Guardian; someone who agrees to use antibiotics responsibly to help slow down antibiotic resistance.

Since their discovery, antibiotics have served as the cornerstone of modern medicine. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy and animal health all rely on access to antibiotics that work. However, by overusing them for unnecessary things such as colds, in human and animal health, we have encouraged the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. This happens when microbes, such as bacteria, become used to the drugs used to treat them. Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous.

The number of infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria is growing globally and is related mainly to the over-use of antibiotics and inappropriate prescribing. There has been a nine per cent increase in antibiotic-resistant infections between 2017 and 2018 – from 55,812 to 60,788 – and as a result, some common health conditions such as kidney infections and pneumonia have started to become untreatable.

Dr Adrian McLachlan, Chair of NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP said: "Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today but there are actions we can all take to slow down resistance. It is important to remember that antibiotics do not work for viral infections and many mild bacterial infections get better on their own without using antibiotics. Everyone can help play a part by pledging to become an antibiotic guardian and making sure that if you do need to take antibiotics, you take your doctor's advice."

The team of health professionals at your local pharmacy can offer help and clinical advice to manage health concerns and if your symptoms suggest it's more serious, they'll ensure you get the care you need.

Common advice your health professional may give you:

  • Get plenty of rest until you feel better.
  • Drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty. 
  • Take paracetamol to reduce a fever (always follow the instructions).
  • Use tissues when you sneeze to help stop infections spreading. 
  • Wash your hands to help stop infections spreading.
  • Never share antibiotics or keep for later use.

You can find out more and sign your pledge now:

Please help the NHS to use resources sensibly. Find out more: