Patients ‘need rest, not antibiotics’

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Media caption Antibiotics ‘may be lost’ by means of overuse, says chief medical official

More patients should be informed to go home and rest instead of be given antibiotics, according to health authorities.

Public Health Britain (PHE) says up to a fifth associated with antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary as numerous illnesses get better on their own.

Overusing the drugs is usually making infections harder to treat simply by creating drug-resistant superbugs.

PHE says patients have “a part to play” in preventing the rise of infections.

It is estimated:

  • 5, 000 people die in the uk each year as a result of drug-resistant infections
  • 4 in 10 cases of blood stream E. coli infections now can not be treated with first-choice antibiotics
  • By 2050, drug-resistant infections around the world are expected in order to kill more people than presently die from cancer

Antibiotics are usually vital in cases of sepsis, pneumonia, bacterial meningitis and other severe bacterial infections.

But PHE says antibiotics are not essential for every single illness.

Coughs or even bronchitis can take up to three several weeks to clear on their own, but antibiotics decrease that by only one to 2 days, it says.

Prof Paul Cosford, medical movie director at PHE, told the BBC: “We don’t often need remedies for common conditions.

“The majority of us can get infections from time to time and will recover due to our own immunity. ”

He said patients must not go to their doctor “expecting a good antibiotic”.

Instead, intended for infections that our body can handle, the particular advice is to:

  • possess plenty of rest
  • use pain relief for example paracetamol
  • drink plenty of fluids

Prof Cosford said: “A doctor can tell you when an antibiotic is really required.

“The fact is for an antibiotic when you don’t require it then you’re more likely to have an irritation that the antibiotics don’t work for on the coming months. ”

The Keep Antibiotics Working advertising campaign will also see patients handed booklets explaining how long it normally takes to recuperate and the warning signs of serious sickness.


Bacteria are incredibly sneaky – once you start attacking associated with antibiotics, they find ways of enduring. Individuals have died from bugs resistant to all antibiotics.

England’s chief medical official, Prof Dame Sally Davies, has warned of a “post-antibiotic apocalypse”.

If the drugs fail, after that not only do infections become harder to deal with, but common medical procedures such as caesarean sections and cancer treatments can become too risky.

The most serious drug-resistant infections are usually sent to PHE’s laboratories at Colindale, north London, for analysis.

Prof Neil Woodford, the site’s head of anti-bacterial resistance, said the most potent remedies, like carbapenems, were failing more frequently.

He told the particular BBC: “If we go back to 2005/07, we were seeing these bacteria within maybe two to four situations per year.

“Last year we confirmed these proof bacteria in over 2, 500 cases. ”

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