Up to a fifth of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary as many illnesses get better on their own, Public Health England (PHE) says.
“We don’t often need antibiotics for common conditions.”Prof Paul Cosford, medical director at PHE, was quoted by the BBC.
Antibiotics are vital in cases of sepsis, pneumonia, bacterial meningitis and other severe infections.
But PHE says antibiotics are not essential for every illness.
Coughs or bronchitis can take up to three weeks to clear on their own, but antibiotics reduce that by only one to two days, it says
“The majority of us will get infections from time to time and will recover because of our own immunity.”
Instead, for infections that our body can handle, the advice is to:
– have plenty of rest
– use pain relief such as paracetamol
– drink plenty of fluids
PHE says patients have “a part to play” in stopping the rise of infections as Overusing them makes infections harder to treat by creating drug-resistant superbugs.
Some key facts about Antibiotic resistance according to the World Health Organization (WHO);
- Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.
- Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.
- Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
- A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhoea – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
- Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.