Antibiotics are medicines that treat bacterial infections by killing or preventing the spread of infections. They are only prescribed when:
- conditions are unlikely to clear up without them
- the condition 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.
The message to local people, therefore, is that it is hugely important to 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, we recommend that you call NHS 111 or visit your local pharmacist for advice.
What you can do to help
- Don’t automatically ask for antibiotics, first seek advice from your pharmacist for over the counter medicines.
- If you are prescribed antibiotics, take them exactly as described, never save them for later and never share them with others.
- Spread the word – tell family and friends about antibiotic resistance. You can also become an antibiotic guardian.
- Tweet and share #KeepAntibioticsWorking
Further links and resources