Get Better Without Antibiotics

NHS Dumfries and Galloway are supporting this important health initiative which aims to encourage the responsible use of antibiotics and raise awareness of European Antibiotic Awareness Day on Wednesday 18 November.


The focus of the day is to highlight the issue of antibiotic resistance and what we can all do to keep antibiotics working for serious infections. We can all help by seeking the right treatment for common illnesses such as colds and coughs without encouraging antibiotic resistance.


Consultant Dr Linsey Batchelor says “Colds and most coughs and sore throats are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. The best way to treat most colds, coughs or sore throats is to drink plenty of fluids and to rest. Colds can last up to two weeks and may end with a cough. There are many over the counter remedies to ease to symptoms such as paracetamol.   Children are more likely to get coughs and colds when they go to school or nursery and mix with other children.   Local pharmacies can advise on the most appropriate medicines and pain relief for you and your family.  However, if the symptoms persist for three weeks or more and you are concerned, see your doctor but you shouldn’t expect to be prescribed antibiotics.


“Antibiotics are important medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic. They become “antibiotic resistant” so that the antibiotic no longer works. The more often we use an antibiotic, the more likely it is that bacteria will become resistant to it. Some bacteria that cause infections in hospitals, such as MRSA, are resistant to several antibiotics.”


Dr Batchelor added:


“Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics when you need them, for example for a kidney infection or pneumonia. Antibiotics can be life-saving for infections such as meningitis. Be sure to complete the course prescribed as some bacteria may be left to develop resistance.  By not using them unnecessarily, they are more likely to work when we need them.”


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