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Keep your antibiotics working this winter

It's World Antibiotics Awareness Week from18 – 24 November 2019, so we're urging everyone to help us to make sure their prescribed antibiotics are working their best this winter.

Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics do not work on viral infections such as colds and flu, most coughs, sore throats, earache and cases of sinusitis. Viral infections can be treated with a combination of self-care and over the counter medicines. Ask your community pharmacist for the best way to treat symptoms of a viral infection.

Taking antibiotics when you don't need them might make you feel worse as you may experience side effects such as an upset tummy. It also puts you and your family at risk, and encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. This means that antibiotics may not work when you need them next time. Always take the advice of your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional on antibiotics.

How you can help

  • If you are prescribed antibiotics, it is very important to take them correctly, especially the right dose at the right time. You should always complete the prescribed course.
  • Antibiotics should never be saved for future use or for someone else to take.
  • As you are more likely to get ill during winter months, it is essential that you make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked with your prescribed medications as well as all of the standard items needed for treating common winter ailments.
  • If you have any questions about any of your antibiotic prescriptions, visit your local pharmacist. Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals who can answer your questions and give you expert advice.

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