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antibioticslogoVIDEO: It’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week (14th-20th November 2016) and the Infection Control Team at St Mary’s Hospital are encouraging Islanders to be ‘antibiotic aware’ to help save this vital medicine from becoming obsolete.

Antibiotics treat infections by killing bacteria, but now the bacteria are fighting back. Medicines are becoming less effective which means more deaths and more complications for people receiving treatment in hospital. Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy all rely on access to antibiotics that work.

Michelle Ould, Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital, said:

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“Antimicrobials are very precious. The message we are giving to healthcare professionals is to take care when prescribing them.  Antibiotics have an important and often lifesaving role in healthcare, but prescribing them unnecessarily contributes to the problem of bacteria developing resistance to the antibiotics that they would have once been susceptible to.

“People should be aware that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and they do not work against virus infections such as those causing colds or most coughs. Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics when you need them.  When antibiotics are prescribed, it is important that patients always take them as directed and complete the course to get rid of the bacteria completely and so they can stay effective in the future.”

25,000 people die each year across Europe from infections resistant to antibiotics. Research has shown that only 10% of sore throats and 20% of acute sinusitis benefit from antibiotic treatment but the prescription rates are much higher than this.

Everyone can help to preserve antibiotics for the future by taking simple actions. Don’t ask for them, treat cold and flu symptoms with pharmacist advice and over the counter medicines. Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed, never save them for later and never share them with others.

View the World Health Organisation video at

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