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Help keep antibiotics working – don’t use them when you don’t need them

Vale of York residents are being urged to follow advice from their doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional and only use antibiotics when they need to – otherwise they could be putting themselves and their family at risk.

Antibiotics are needed to treat serious bacterial infections but they are often used by people to treat conditions such as coughs, ear ache and sore throats, which will normally get better on their own.

Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside our bodies to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

As antibiotic resistance increases, common procedures such as hip replacements and caesarean sections could become life-threatening without antibiotics to protect against infections.

Cancer patients are also much more vulnerable if antibiotics don’t work; both cancer and chemotherapy treatment reduce the ability of the immune system to fight infections and antibiotics are critical to prevent and treat infections in these patients.

The ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign began on Tuesday (23 October) to remind people that using antibiotics when they don’t need to could put them and their family at risk.

When it comes to appropriate use of antibiotics, it’s important to always take your doctor, nurse of healthcare professional’s advice.

Dr Nigel Wells, a Vale of York GP and NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group Clinical Chair, said: “As a GP in the Vale of York I would like to remind people that antibiotics are not always needed so always listen your doctor’s advice on when and when not to take them.

“Antibiotic resistance is something we must tackle right now. It’s only natural to want something to help you feel better when you’re unwell but taking antibiotics when you don’t need to puts you and your family at risk of more severe or longer illness.”

For more information about antibiotics resistance, visit www.nhs.uk/antibiotics

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