Public Health England warns that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you
and your family at risk
Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections but they are frequently being used to
treat illnesses, such as coughs, earache and sore throats that 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.
As antibiotic resistance increases common procedures such as caesarean sections and hip
replacements could become life-threatening without antibiotics to ward off infections. Cancer
patients are also much more vulnerable if antibiotics don’t work; both cancer and the treatment
(chemotherapy) reduce the ability of the immune system to fight infections and antibiotics are
critical to both prevent and treat infections in these patients.
The ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign returns in October 2018 to remind you that taking
antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk. It’s important that, when
it comes to antibiotics, you always take your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional’s advice.
For further information on antibiotic resistance visit nhs.uk/antibiotics.