HEALTH MAT­TERS

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● WITH Dr Graham Duce, GP at Park Green Surgery, Mac­cles­field, and clin­i­cal lead for an­tibi­otic stew­ard­ship at NHS Eastern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG) LAST week I ar­ranged an an­tibi­otic stew­ard­ship event for GPs in eastern Cheshire, which many of my col­leagues at­tended.

We met to dis­cuss how we can re­duce and op­ti­mise an­tibi­otic use in pri­mary care.

Many ail­ments such as coughs, sore throats and ear­ache for which pa­tients con­sult their GP are caused by viruses, so an­tibi­otics will not help treat them.

Your GP will not pre­scribe an­tibi­otics for such in­fec­tions, be­cause higher and un­nec­es­sary an­tibi­otic use is caus­ing in­creas­ing an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance, a prob­lem we can no longer af­ford to ig­nore.

Alexan­der Flem­ing dis­cov­ered the world’s first an­tibi­otic in 1928 and when ac­cept­ing his No­bel Prize in 1945, he warned of the dan­gers of bac­te­ria be­com­ing an­tibi­oti­cre­sis­tant.

In­deed, ev­ery new class of an­tibi­otics has been fol­lowed by bac­te­ria be­com­ing in­creas­ingly re­sis­tant to them, and there have been few new an­tibi­otic dis­cov­er­ies for 30 years.

With­out ef­fec­tive an­tibi­otics, man­ag­ing com­mon con­di­tions such as uri­nary tract in­fec­tions and pneu­mo­nia will be­come in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult, and treat­ments such as chemo­ther­apy will be­come more dan­ger­ous.

We can help stop this from hap­pen­ing if we all join to­gether and be­come ‘an­tibi­otic guardians’.

The An­tibi­otic Guardian cam­paign was launched in Septem­ber 2014 and so far more than 100 healthcare pro­fes­sion­als and 3,600 mem­bers of the public have pledged to do their part to help re­duce an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance.

Be­com­ing an an­tibi­otic guardian is easy - visit an­tibi­otic­guardian.com and sign up to one of the pledges, which in­clude vow­ing to treat the symp­toms of a cold or cough for five days be­fore vis­it­ing a GP, and al­ways tak­ing any un­used an­tibi­otics to a phar­macy for safe dis­posal.

Remembering not to share or re­use an­tibi­otics is also very im­por­tant, as is tak­ing them at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals through­out the day to en­sure that the right amount of an­tibi­otic is around the in­fec­tion all the time.

Fin­ish­ing a course of an­tibi­otics is also es­sen­tial, even if you feel bet­ter, un­less a healthcare pro­fes­sional tells you oth­er­wise.

If you stop tak­ing an an­tibi­otic part way through a course, the bac­te­ria can be­come re­sis­tant and you may not fully re­cover from your ill­ness.

For more in­for­ma­tion about an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance and the im­por­tance of An­tibi­otic Guardians, visit east­erncheshireccg.nhs. uk/News/Why-we-needan­tibi­otic-guardians. htm.

●● Dr Graham Duce

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