Published:
November 18, 2015
Local doctors warn over-use of antibiotics raises risk of 'superbugs'

Family doctors in the Burnham-On-Sea area are joining with public health experts to warn that unless patients stop over-using antibiotics they increase the likelihood of new and more dangerous antibiotic resistant superbugs taking hold in this country.

The spread of resistant bacteria in hospitals and community healthcare settings is already a major patient safety issue, says Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.

Scientists warn that unless fewer antibiotics are prescribed and those that are prescribed are taken correctly, there is a risk that new strains of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ could pose a risk to the health of millions.

GPs in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge still find patients demanding antibiotics believing that a common cold or flu can be 'cured' by taking them, when in fact they have no effect upon such viruses.

Antibiotics remain an effective treatment for bacterial infections but only when they are taken in the prescribed way. Too often patients fail to complete a course of prescribed antibiotics because they start to feel better and believe they have overcome their infection.

Dr Ed Ford, Somerset CCG’s Urgent Care Lead, said: "In winter family doctors expect to see many more patients with colds and coughs and many will ask for antibiotics believing they are a quick cure. They are not."

"Patient should not feel offended if we advise taking some over-the-counter cold remedies from their local pharmacist as these are much more likely to relieve their symptoms."

"For elderly patients and people living with long-term ill health conditions, the seasonal flu vaccination still offers better protection to yourself and those around you."

Shaun Green, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s Medicines Management Lead and Antibiotics Guardian, added: "We still take antibiotics for granted, believing that there will always be one available to treat an infection."

"Unfortunately, bacteria resistance to antibiotics is a real and growing problem and one that we are seeing throughout hospitals and healthcare settings in Somerset and all over England and Europe."

"As patients we have to use antibiotic appropriately and accept the doctor’s advice if they tell us antibiotics are not necessary or will be ineffective such as when we have a bad cold."

Patients can play an important role in reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance by not visiting the doctor but caring for ourselves with lots of fluids and paracetamol when we have a viral infection such as a cold; preventing infection through appropriate vaccination such as the Flu jab; Washing hands and children’s hands regularly, for instance after sneezing or coughing before touching other things or people; always use antibiotics under medical prescription, not using 'leftovers' or antibiotics obtained without a prescription.


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