Keep antibiotics working

Antibiotic resistance is a complex problem - overuse and misuse of antibiotics is creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria against which none of our current antibiotics work. The race is on to develop new antibiotics to kill these resistant strains but, if we don't win that race, we could face a future in which antibiotics no longer work.

That could mean a return to the pre-antibiotic age, where people with compromised immune systems may not recover from common infections and deaths in childbirth, or from infected wounds, or pneumonia were commonplace. The inappropriate use of antibiotics drives antibiotic resistance and means antibiotics may become less likely to work in the future. The campaign will support the government’s ambition to halve inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics in the UK by 2020.

Londoners are being asked to play their part in tackling antibiotics resistance. 

The new antibiotics resistance campaign, launched by Public Health England, is highlighting that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk, and encouraging people to always take their doctor or nurse’s advice on antibiotics. 

The national Keep Antibiotics Working campaign is aimed at all adults, but more specifically, women aged 20-45 who tend to have primary responsibility for family health as well as older men and women aged 50+, who have recurrent conditions and high levels of contact with GPs.

It is estimated that 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant which means that antibiotics may not work when you need them next time. 

People are reminded that:

  • Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk.
  • Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them. ​
  • If you take antibiotics you are more likely to get an antibiotic resistant infection. This is even more likely for children who have taken antibiotics.
  • Always take your doctor or nurse’s advice on antibiotics.

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics is creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria against which none of our current antibiotics work.

New antibiotics are being developed to kill these resistant strains but we could face a future in which no antibiotics no longer work. That could mean a return to the pre-antibiotic age, where people with compromised immune systems may not recover from common infections and deaths in child birth, or from infected wounds or pneumonia were commonplace.

The inappropriate use of antibiotics drives antibiotic resistance and means antibiotics become less likely to work in the future.

You can take one of a number of pledges to help personal commitment to preserve antibiotics at antibioticguardian.com

Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you at risk

Dr Mandy Selby is a GP in Bromley. As people across the Capital are being asked ‘do they really need antibiotics’, we asked for her top tips on preventing conditions most want to treat with antibiotics.