People in Tower Hamlets urged to support antibiotics campaign

People in Tower Hamlets are being urged to support World Antibiotic Awareness Week (13-19 November) – to help ensure that vital antibiotic drugs are effective for the future.

Led by the World Health Organisation, the campaign is reminding people to always seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.

Antibiotics help protect us and can be life-saving drugs, but if not used properly they might not work to fight the infections that make us ill.

The chances of antibiotics not working increases when:

  • antibiotics are not taken correctly as prescribed 
  • a full course of antibiotics is unfinished 
  • people take antibiotics intended for someone else or not prescribed for them by their GP or another NHS clinician.

People who overuse antibiotics can also build up a resistance to them. This happens when bacteria change and the antibiotics no longer work on infections.

Sir Sam Everington, local GP and chair of Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Antibiotic resistance is increasing rapidly in all parts of the world making it become more difficult to treat infections. It can affect anyone, of any age, and leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.

"Antibiotics are a precious resource, so it is important to always get the right advice before taking them. By using them the right way, antibiotics are more likely to work when we need them. Not only are you ensuring you and your family get the best treatment, responsible use of antibiotics will also help reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance."

Every winter there is a rise in people demanding antibiotics from their GP for viral infections such as colds and flu, but antibiotics do not kill viruses.

Sir Sam Everington added: “We need people to help us by not asking for antibiotics when you don’t need them and if your GP decides you do need antibiotics, please always make sure you take them as instructed.

"If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, the best thing to do is drink plenty of water, get lots of rest and let your body fight the virus. If you need relief from symptoms such as a sore throat or aches and pains, your local pharmacist can recommend medicines that can help you – with no need for a prescription."