Warning not to use drugs unnecessarily as antibiotics resistant illness risk grows

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Medical chiefs are warning Lincolnshire residents against using antibiotics unnecessarily this winter as the risk of drug resistant illnesses grows.

Lincolnshire East CCG is warning of the dangers of antibiotics resistance and the need for patients to use antibiotics wisely. Last year alone over 25,000 people died across Europe from infections resistant to antibiotics.

Whilst antibiotics are important medicines for treating infections caused by bacteria, many people are unaware that most common illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats and stomach upsets, can be managed with over the counter medicines.

Those patients who decide to self-medicate and use antibiotics when they are not needed risk causing the bacteria responsible for their illness to build up resistance, meaning antibiotics will not work to treat illnesses in the future.

“With very few new antibiotics in the development pipeline it is vital that we don’t use existing antibiotics unnecessarily,” explains Sarah Southall, Deputy Chief Nurse, Lincolnshire East CCG. “If we can avoid using antibiotics unnecessarily, they are more likely to work when we need them.

“Resistance is also caused when antibiotics are not taken for the fully prescribed course. Taking only a partial course of antibiotics means that bacteria will be exposed to the antibiotic but are not given a strong enough course to kill them, resulting in the bacteria surviving and replicating. As a result future strains may be more likely to mutate and develop resistance. Antibiotics certainly have an important and often lifesaving role in healthcare, however, taking them unnecessarily or inappropriately can contribute to resistance to antibiotics.”

For more information on how over the counter medicines can help combat coughs and colds, sore throats and stomach upsets, please visit your local pharmacy.