As part of Antibiotics Awareness Week (14-20 November) local NHS health leaders across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are urging parents to join the fight against antibiotic resistance and make a family pledge to become Antibiotic Guardians.
The development of antibiotics has been one of the most important advances in medicine to fight bacteria and treat infections. Now, because of the over-use and misuse of antibiotics, bacterial infections that were once easily cured are becoming harder to treat.
Without urgent action, common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill, and the benefits of advanced treatments such as chemotherapy and major surgery will be lost.
"We are calling on people to make better use of antibiotics and help save them from becoming obsolete. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause."
"Antibiotic resistance has the potential to be a greater threat to the population than cancer, as once you develop a resistance to an antibiotic it won’t be an effect treatment against infections in the future. Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, and chemotherapy all rely on access to antibiotics that work. "
"Resistance develops from overuse so one way to ensure antibiotics continue to work is not to use them unless they really are needed. There is a common misconception that antibiotics can be used to treat colds and often patients and parents request antibiotics when they feel unwell."
- Elizabeth Jonas, Medicines Management Pharmacist
Patients in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are being encouraged to take simple measures to get the right care, first time this winter. This includes speaking to their pharmacist for advice on minor ailments such as coughs and colds that can be treated at home, and, for parents, using resources such as the free smartphone NHS HANDi App to help them care for common minor childhood illnesses.
You can sign up to become an Antibiotic Guardian and pledge your support via the following website:
"Lots of people attend GP surgeries wanting to receive prescriptions for infections which their bodies are good at fighting off on their own, like coughs, colds, sore throats and flu. Initially you should try treating and controlling the symptoms for a few days by getting lots of rest, eating well and drinking plenty of fluids. Community pharmacists are well placed to help provide advice on over the counter medicines that can also help treat symptoms."
- Dr Jonathan Hayes, GP and Chairman of South Gloucestershire CCG
This year, Public Health England, working with Makewaves, have launched a suite of online resources for children to help them better understand how germs spread and the importance of handwashing. By taking part in the games children earn points towards a digital badge, families can also take part and earn a family antibiotic guardian badge.
More information is available here: