22/11/2013

European Antibiotic Awareness Day

Today is European Antibiotic Awareness Day and while that may seem like an insignificant enough event to devote an entire day to, the truth is more worrying...

Today is European Antibiotic Awareness Day and to mark the event, the HSE Winter Antibiotic Public Education Campaign will be launched on Friday 22 November.

Eighty per cent of antibiotics are prescribed in the community. There are 25,000 deaths in Europe each year from multi drug resistant organisms. World experts believe it is unlikely that major new classes of antibiotics will be developed and the existing classes of antibiotics are probably the best we will ever have.

We cannot afford to ignore this problem. Keeping antibiotics effective for future generations is everyone's responsibility.

We must act now and reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

  • Antibiotics will not make you feel better if you have a viral illness. Most common infections such as common colds, coughs or flu don't need antibiotics, they get better by themselves.
  • Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and can be lifesaving in certain infections such as meningitis – they cannot help against common colds, coughs or flu.
  • The misuse of antibiotics only causes bacteria to become resistant to antibiotic treatments. So when antibiotics are needed in the future, they may not work.
  • Antibiotics often give side effects such as diarrhoea, nausea and skin rashes. Taking antibiotics when you don't need them puts your health at risk.
  • Further information is available at www.hse.ie/antibiotics

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