Remember that antibiotics are not always the answer

NHS TAYSIDE is focused on reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics and the need to use antibiotics responsibly.

The national health body is supporting the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control campaign which is highlighting how the inappropriate use of antibiotics is the main cause of the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as C.diff and MRSA.

Most common infections are caused by viruses and so antibiotics will not work for them.

This includes colds, flu and most throat, sinus, ear and chest infections. In fact, one third of all antibiotic prescribing is not necessary and this has led to an increase in resistance in people’s bodies meaning that the bugs do not respond to the antibiotics.

The result is that some severe infections are very difficult to treat and therefore new ones are being developed.

Consultant Physician and Honorary Professor of Infection Dilip Nathwani, who is also chairman of the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group, said: “Overuse of antibiotics causes bacteria to change and develop resistance making them harder to treat.

“We want to raise awareness that antibiotic use should be limited and that there are differences between bacterial and viral infections.

“To ensure we get the most out of antibiotics for the longest possible time, whilst making sure they cause the least harm, the NHS Tayside Antimicrobial Team has been working closely with all prescribers to ensure that all patients receive antibiotics for the right reasons, at the right time and for the right amount of time.”