People across Lincolnshire are being urged to use antibiotics responsibly and in moderation ahead of the winter season.
GPs and pharmacists who are part of NHS Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) want to remind members of the public that antibiotics only work on infections caused by bacteria, not those caused by viruses, such as common winter coughs, colds and flu.
Following on from last November’s European Antibiotics Awareness Day, which highlighted the threat to public health of antibiotic resistance and promoted appropriate antibiotic use, people are also being encouraged to practice good hygiene, such as regular hand washing, to avoid infections and help prevent them spreading to others.
We all have a role to play in fighting antibiotic resistance by using antibiotics wisely. Using antibiotics when you don’t need them can contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance. Basically, the more antibiotics are used, the more chances bacteria have to become resistant to them. Antibiotics should only be used when really needed and when prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics do not work on the viruses that cause many common conditions, such as coughs, colds and sore throats, and these usually just get better on their own.
If people are feeling unwell with these conditions, they can get excellent advice from their local pharmacist. In many cases taking simple remedies, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and cold and flu products, will provide relief from symptoms, such as aches and pains. People are also advised to take lots of rest by staying at home and drinking plenty of fluids.
A visit to your GP is advised if your symptoms persist or get worse after seven days for an adult or five days for a child or baby, if you are pregnant or if you have another underlying health condition.
You can encourage the responsible use of antibiotics by signing up to become an Antibiotic Guardian at www.antibioticguardian.com For further information about how you and your family can stay well this winter, please visit www.nhs.uk