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Members of the public are being urged to only take antibiotics when they need them to help keep antibiotics working for the treatment of serious infections.
NHS healthcare organisations across Herefordshire are raising awareness of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), which takes place from 18 to 24 November and European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) on 18 November, which highlight the real threat of the overuse of antibiotics particularly during the pandemic.
Dr Carl Ellson, Medical Director for Strategy and Transformation at Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG said: “It’s important that patient’s listen to their doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice and understand that antibiotics won’t be prescribed if they are not going to be effective. Many illnesses can be fought off by our body’s own immune system, including a sore throat, a cold or the flu.
“If you have a minor illness; rest, keep warm, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and contact your local pharmacy for advice on medicines you can take at home.”
Alison Johnson, consultant microbiologist at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “If we continue to overuse antibiotics they will no longer be effective in the prevention of infections for people undergoing chemotherapy and surgery, or for the treatment of serious illnesses such as sepsis.
“Every day in England there are 165 new antibiotic resistant infections due to ‘super bugs’ and for many of these infections we won’t have viable alternative treatments, so we all need to take action to keep antibiotics working to save lives.
“Taking antibiotics encourages potentially harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant, meaning antibiotics are less likely to work for you in the future. They can also cause side effects, such as diarrhoea.
Dr Rebecca Howell-Jones, Acting Director for Public Health in Herefordshire, added: “Pharmacists, doctors and nurses who prescribe medication in the county are committed to use antibiotics prudently.
While there has been a drop in the prescribing of antibiotics, we need to preserve them for when we really need them. We’re calling on the public to join us in helping to tackle antibiotic resistance. You can do this by only taking antibiotics when they are advised and prescribed by a health professional, and taking them as instructed. Remember, most infections will get better without antibiotics.”
Notes to Editors WVT:
- Wye Valley NHS Trust is a provider of health services across Herefordshire and beyond. The Trust exists to improve the wellbeing, independence and health of the people we serve.
- By working closely with our partners, we can make good our promise to deliver a quality of care we would want for ourselves, our families and our friends.
- With an estimated annual turnover of around £250 million, we employ around 3,000 staff. We aim to build new relationships between our staff, patients, service users and their carers with the wider community.
For further information please contact:
Fiona Gurney, communications officer, or John Burnett, Communication and Engagement Manager, Wye Valley NHS Trust: 01432 372928