18 November is European Antibiotic Awareness Day and we are showing its support by encouraging dentists and patients to take more care with antibiotics.
It is estimated that each year, 25,000 people in Europe and 700,000 worldwide, die each from antibiotic-resistant infections. The effectiveness of antibiotics is fast-reducing and means that even treating minor infections is more difficult as bacteria increasingly become resistant. Without effective antibiotics, modern medicine will become more dangerous due to the risk of infection.
The good news is, we can each do something to help. If we only use antibiotics when we really need to – and only use them as prescribed – we can slow down the rate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and thereby, protect the efficacy of our medicines.
Here are our top tips on what you can do to help save our antibiotics:
- If you are suffering from toothache, see your dentist – not your GP – so that you can receive the most appropriate treatment. Toothache is usually caused by tooth decay, so antibiotics won’t cure it.
- Only use antibiotics as directed and finish the entire course as prescribed– never save them for later.
- Dispose of your leftover antibiotics appropriately; never share them with someone else.
- Don’t ask for antibiotics as soon as you feel unwell. Over-the-counter treatments may be appropriate (speak to a pharmacist) or discuss your symptoms with your dentist or GP first.
- Become an Antibiotic Guardian at http://antibioticguardian.com/ and make a simple pledge to help reduce the rate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Did you know…?
- The more you use an antibiotic, the more the bacteria becomes resistant to it.
- If we only use antibiotics when we really need to – and only as prescribed – we will help to slow down antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Antibiotic-resistant bacteria don’t just affect you, they can spread to other people (and animals) in close contact with you and are very difficult to treat.
- There are very few antibiotics in development, so it’s crucial we use what we have as wisely as possible. That way, these life-saving medicines will continue to be effective for future generations.
- If you take antibiotics when you don’t need them, you run the risk of carrying antibiotic resistant bacteria in your gut. If these bacteria go on to cause an infection, antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
- The Government predicts that by 2050, the global death toll from antibiotic-resistant illness could be as much as 10 million – higher than the cancer death rate.
Published: November 17th, 2016