Patients in Cumbria urged to help 'Keep Antibiotics Working'

Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria to become resistant Credit: PA

More patients in Cumbria should be told to go home and rest rather than be given antibiotics, according to health officials.

Public Health England (PHE) says up to a fifth of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary - taken for illnesses such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves.

Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis.

Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant.

That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

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

PHE says patients have "a part to play" in stopping the rise of infections.

It is estimated:

  • Four in 10 cases of bloodstream E. coli infections now cannot be treated with first-choice antibiotics.

  • By 2050, drug-resistant infections around the world are expected to kill more people than currently die from cancer.

The ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign urges patients patients to trust professional advice and take antibiotics as directed.

It also helps patients to understand how to manage their illness if antibiotics are not needed.

The Medical Director at Public Health England said: