The European Centres for Disease Control (ECDC) has declared 18th November 2012 as the European Antibiotic Awareness Day.
Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria; unfortunately many bacteria develop resistance to the antibiotics. This results in more serious infections which are difficult to treat and patients often have to receive second or third-line antibiotics which have more side effects and are more expensive.
Increasing resistance to antibiotics is a worldwide problem in many parts of the world; drug resistance is changing the picture of infectious diseases. Bacteria do not respect national boundaries and resistant bacteria can travel from one part of the world to another easily. There is a need for everyone involved – Doctors, Nurses, Dentists, Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals and the public to be aware of the problems resulting from antibiotic resistance and ensure that they take steps to avoid the emergence of drug resistant bacteria.
What can members of the public do?
- Whether you need antibiotics for your condition is a decision which your doctor, dentist or nurse will decide. Please do not ask or demand an antibiotic. Common viral infections like cold, flu and viral fever etc do not need antibiotics and antibiotics will not shorten the duration of these.
- Please do not take antibiotics unless they have been prescribed to you.
- Please ensure that you follow the instructions and take the right dose at the right frequency – do NOT forget to take them.
- Please ensure that you complete the course of antibiotics – please do NOT stop them if you feel better.
- If you suspect you have developed side effects from the antibiotic (common side effects are skin rash, nausea, diarrhoea), please consult the person who prescribed the antibiotic. Do not stop the antibiotic unless advised to do so.