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Lambeth GPs support first World Antibiotic Awareness Week

The first ever World Antibiotic Awareness Week runs this week from 16-22 November and GPs in Lambeth are asking local people to think twice before asking their GPs for antibiotics, particularly over the winter period.

The campaign's theme this year is Antibiotics: handle with care, reflecting the need for us to start treating antibiotics as a precious resource rather than an everyday medicine.  With today's hectic lifestyles, not many people have the time to be ill, and antibiotics have come to be seen as a magical cure for a whole range of niggles, such as a cold or sore throat.  But how often do we really need them?

"Antibiotic resistance has become a big problem in the UK and around the world," explains Dr Adrian McLachlan, a local GP and Chair of NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group.

"Using antibiotics more often than we need to means that bacteria become more 'clever' and change in response – leading to antibiotic resistance.  This makes it much more difficult for the NHS to treat infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.  It also means that routine operations, such as setting broken bones, become much more dangerous as antibiotic resistance makes it more difficult for the body to fight post-operative infections.

Unless we change the way we use antibiotics as a form of treatment, antibiotic resistance will only grow to become a bigger problem in the future."

What should antibiotics be used for?

  • Antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial infections, only when prescribed by your GP or another appropriate health professional.
  • Antibiotics should never be shared
  • The full course of antibiotic treatment should be completed – not saved for the future.

You can take some simple steps to prevent the spread of infections, such as regularly washing your hands, taking extra care when preparing food, avoiding close contact with sick people and keeping vaccinations up to date.

To find out how to become an Antibiotic Guardian visit