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Get well without antibiotics

To mark European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18th November 2013 Lewisham Council and Lewisham CCG are highlighting the fact that antibiotics do not cure all illnesses.


Antibiotics do not work for common conditions such as sore throats, colds and most coughs. These conditions are usually caused by viruses that do not respond to antibiotics. Unnecessary antibiotics means that serious bacterial infections become resistant making it difficult to treat these infections in the future.


Antibiotics will not help you get rid of a cold. The best way to treat most coughs, runny noses or sore throats is rest and plenty of fluids. Over the counter remedies like paracetamol can help ease symptoms and your local pharmacist can give you free information and advice on the best medicine to take.


It is also important to remember that people over 65 years and those with conditions that put them at risk of the complications of flu (for example diabetes or chronic respiratory conditions) should get the flu jab to protect themselves. This year, two and three year olds are also being offered vaccination against flu using a nasal spray. 

Danny Ruta, Director of Public Health for Lewisham said: “We are pleased to support European Antibiotic Awareness Day. Over reliance on antibiotics has led to some ‘bugs’ becoming resistant. When bugs are resistant to antibiotics, it means the antibiotics don’t work. The public has an important role to play by following advice given by their GP, nurse or pharmacist, not sharing or saving antibiotics and taking antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Over use of antibiotics when they’re not really needed means that they become less effective when we do need them. That’s why it’s very important that we give people the information they need to manage these common illnesses without turning to antibiotics.”


Information leaflets for patients on getting better without antibiotics are being made available to GP surgeries from 18th November.


Find out more about antibiotic awareness at NHS Choices.