1. ITV Report

Patients in Cumbria urged to help 'Keep Antibiotics Working'

Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria to become resistant Photo: 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:

people die in England each year as a result of drug-resistant infections.
  • 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.

Credit: NHS

The Medical Director at Public Health England said:

Antibiotic resistance is not a distant threat, but is in fact one of the most dangerous global crises facing the modern world today.

Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk of developing infections which in turn cannot be easily treated with antibiotics.

Without urgent action from all of us, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become much riskier.

PHE’s ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign helps to explain the risks of antibiotic resistance to the public.

It is important for people to understand that if they are feeling under the weather and see their GP or a nurse, antibiotics may not be prescribed if they are not effective for their condition, but they should expect to have a full discussion about how to manage their symptoms.”

– Paul Cosford, Medical Director, Public Health England