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Southwark GPs support first World Antibiotic Awareness Week 

The first ever World Antibiotic Awareness Week runs from 16-22 November and GPs in Southwark are asking local people to think twice before going to the GP for antibiotics, particularly over the winter period.
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The campaign's theme this year is Antibiotics: handle with care, reflecting the need for us to start treating antibiotics as a precious resource rather than an everyday medicine. With today's hectic lifestyles, not many people have the time to be ill, and antibiotics have come to be seen as a standard treatment for common viral infections such as colds and sore throats.  But how often do we really need them? 

Using antibiotics more often than we need to means that some bacteria adapt and become resistant to the drug. This makes it much more difficult for the NHS to treat infectious diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. It also means that routine operations, such as hip replacements or caesarean sections, will become much more dangerous and may even become impossible in the future as standard treatments become ineffective.

What can you do?

  • Antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial infections, only when prescribed by your GP or another appropriate health professional. They are ineffective against coughs and colds.  If you start to feel unwell, from a cough or a cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious.

  • Never share antibiotics if you have been prescribed them.

  • The full course of antibiotic treatment should always be completed – not saved for the future.

  • Take some simple steps to prevent the spread of infections, such as regularly washing your hands, taking extra care when preparing food, using a tissue when coughing/sneezing, and keeping vaccinations up to date.  

You can also pledge to become an antibiotic guardian.​