European Antibiotic Awareness Day 18th November 2017

Visit to get better without antibiotics

Taking antibiotics you don’t need can make you sick and is setting back a lot of the progress that has been made in medicine over recent decades.   All over Europe many people who should have been sitting down to enjoy Christmas 2017 and welcome in the New Year of 2018 with their family and friends will be missing from the table because they did not survive an infection caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The more we use antibiotics, the more antibiotic resistant bacteria we make and this means that patients who really need antibiotics are less likely to get better than they would have 10 or 20 years ago. This is the warning from leading clinicians who are marking the 10th annual European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) #KeepAntibioticsWorking.

Professor Martin Cormican, Consultant Microbiologist and HSE National Lead for HCAI/AMR says “When properly used antibiotics have been wonder drugs. In the last century they were called ‘magic bullets’ because in a very ill patient antibiotics like penicillin were literally like magic, they precisely hit a lethal target in the bacteria.  Antibiotics changed the way we provide healthcare, improved our life expectancy rates and allowed doctors to provide a huge range of critical life-saving services to patients for decades.  Prior to their discovery a simple blood infection was often the cause of serious illness and death.  As prescribers, it is vital that we prescribe antibiotics to maximise the likelihood of successfully treating infections, while minimising the risk of antibiotic resistance and reducing harm to our patients”.

 What can you do? provides sound advice to give us the confidence and skill we need to take care of ourselves and our families without resorting to antibiotics.   Antibiotics can cause more harm than good; they should be used only as prescribed and when needed.

  • Antibiotics don’t work for colds or flu. If you have a cold or flu, visit www.undertheweather.iefor advice on how to help yourself get better and ask your doctor for advice if you are concerned.
  • Antibiotics should be taken exactly as prescribed – at the right time for the right duration.
  • Always finish an antibiotic course – even if you feel a lot better.  This is to ensure that all the bacteria are killed completely and that no survivors are left that could multiply and develop resistance.

We have comprehensive guidelines for GPs and dentists on antibiotic use, designed to minimise the development of resistance with targeted prescribing depending on the clinical situation. I would urge all prescribers to follow the guidelines”.