Healthcare officials across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are encouraging local residents to make sure their prescribed antibiotics are working their best this winter.
Antibiotics are medicines that treat bacterial infections by killing or preventing the spread of infections. They are only prescribed when:
- conditions are unlikely to clear up without them
- the condition could spread to others
- antibiotics could significantly speed up recovery
- the illness is serious.
Antibiotics are not prescribed for viral infections such as colds or flu because they are not effective in fighting these types of illnesses. Viral infections can be treated with a combination of self-care and over the counter medicines.
Dr James Ogle, a GP from Leicestershire said: “It is very important that you make sure all of your antibiotics are up to date so that they are at their most effective. As you are more likely to get ill during winter months, it is essential that you make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked up with your prescribed medications as well as all of the standard items.
“In recent years we have moved away from over-prescribing antibiotics because this can lead to ‘superbugs’ – resistant strains of bacteria. If you overuse antibiotics they are less likely to work for you in the future, and this can lead to severe complications.”
The message to local people, therefore, is that it is hugely important to use antibiotics properly, to keep yourself well this winter. Always make sure that your antibiotics have been prescribed to you, that you are taking the recommended dose and that they are in date.
If you have any questions about any of your antibiotic prescriptions, you should visit your local pharmacist. They will be able to answer any questions you have and give you advice.
If you believe that you have a bacterial infection, we recommend that you call NHS 111 or visit your local pharmacist for advice.