Sefton residents are being asked to play their part in this year’s Public Health England’s (PHE) ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign this winter and all year round by ensuring they use antibiotics correctly and understand when they are not required.
Healthcare professionals at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG are teaming up with Sefton Council to support the campaign.
Antibiotics are medicines that treat bacterial infections by killing or preventing the spread of that infection. They are only prescribed when:
- the condition is unlikely to clear up without them
- the infection could spread to others
- antibiotics could significantly speed up recovery
- the illness is serious.
Antibiotics are not prescribed for viral infections such as colds or flu because they are not effective in fighting these types of illnesses. Viral infections can be treated with a combination of self-care and over the counter medicines.
Susanne Lynch, a pharmacist and head of the medicines management team at the CCGs in Sefton, said: “We’ve done a lot of work already to explain to people that antibiotics are not always the answer but this campaign will hopefully add to this, helping GPs and pharmacists spread the word more and remind people about the risks of taking antibiotics when it’s not necessary.
“We need to preserve antibiotics for when we really need them and we are calling on the public to join us in tackling antibiotic resistance by listening to your GP, pharmacist or nurse’s advice and only take antibiotics when necessary. Taking antibiotics just in case may seem like a harmless act, but it can have negative consequences for you and your family’s health in the future.”
Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health, Sefton Council, added: “It is really important that you use antibiotics properly to keep yourself well this winter. Always make sure that your antibiotics have been prescribed to you, that you are taking the recommended dose and that they are in-date.”
If you have any questions about any of your antibiotic prescriptions, you should visit your local pharmacist. They will be able to answer any questions you have and give you advice.
If you believe that you have a bacterial infection, it is recommended to call NHS 111 or visit your local pharmacist for advice.