Local NHS leaders are asking people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to use antibiotics wisely and safely, as part of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, in a bid to prevent antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is a global campaign that runs between 18-24 November. The week is all about raising awareness of antimicrobial resistance and why reducing our use of antibiotics is important to everyone.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a major threat to global health. AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines (such as antibiotics), making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread and severe illness.
Sati Ubhi, Chief Pharmacist at NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, which is part of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System, said:
Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections. They can be used to kill harmful bacteria and have saved millions of lives. However, when antibiotics are overused or used inappropriately, bacteria can build up resistance to them which results in them not being effective.
We all have a part to play in ensuring antibiotics remain effective in the future. If you, or a family member, become unwell with a cold, cough or other viral infection, antibiotics won’t help you get better sooner as they don’t work on viruses. These infections usually get better on their own with rest, fluids and over-the-counter remedies.
Antibiotics should only be used when we really need them. Listen to your GP, pharmacist or nurse’s advice and only take antibiotics when necessary. If you are given antibiotics, it’s important that you finish the full course, not save them for future use and never share them with others.
Some antimicrobials can interact with other medicines you may be taking, so always consult with your doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or advanced healthcare practitioner if you need more information.
Dr Nick Brown, Medical Microbioligist at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, explains more about the importance of using antibiotics safely.