Help keep antibiotics working effectively in the future

None of us like to be unwell and we expect doctors and nurses to prescribe something to make us better, but we need to ask ourselves ….are we using and relying on too many antibiotics?

Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk of more severe or longer illness. NHS North Lincolnshire CCG is supporting a national campaign by Public Health England urging people to only use antibiotics when they really need to and always take them as advised by a GP or nurse. This will help keep antibiotics working effectively and stop the increase of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics help ward off infections during chemotherapy, caesarean sections and other surgery, and they are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, but people sometimes ask for them where they are not needed to treat viral illnesses, such as coughs, colds and sore throats, that can get better by themselves.

Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. This means that if you take antibiotics when you don’t need them, the next time you get an infection it is more likely that antibiotics will not work, making it harder to treat. This is even more likely for children who have taken antibiotics.

It is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections and this figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.

Dr Margaret Sanderson, local GP and Chair of the CCG, explained, “The less we use antibiotics for ourselves and our children when we don’t need them, the less antimicrobial resistance has a chance to develop and reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics in future at fighting infections when we need them. To help prevent antibiotic resistance, antibiotics should only be taken as advised by your GP or nurse and people must understand that antibiotics will not help with a viral infection such as a cold, a sore throat or the flu and not to request them unnecessarily from their GP.”

She added, “It’s important that we address the overuse of antibiotics that is increasing the risk of resistance and resulting in common infections becoming untreatable and routine operations riskier in future without effective antibiotics.”

You can find out more by visiting

For viral infections that make us unwell there are other medicines and treatments available from either a GP or your local Pharmacist. More information about the symptoms and treatment of minor ailments and infections can be found on the NHS Choices website


<< Go back to the previous page