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Help NHS by becoming an 'antibiotic guardian'

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Dr Sandra Martin, Kieran Manchester and Maria Katsikogianni

How you can help prolong the usefulness of antiobiotics

People with mild colds and coughs are being urged to seek advice from pharmacists before visiting their GP, as part of a new campaign to retain the effectiveness of antibiotics.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week begins on November 17- this year organisers are urging people to become ‘guardians’ by taking a pledge.

There will be a public Cafe Scientifique lecture on November 18 - here.

Good practice

University of Bradford Assistant Professor Sandra Martin, lecturer in pharmacy practice in the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and a registered pharmacist, said the main aim of the campaign was to make people aware of the need to preserve the efficacy of antibiotics.

She said: “Covid has brought infection control onto everyone’s agenda, so we’re now all much more aware of things like hand washing and wearing masks, certainly in a healthcare setting. The message around World Antibiotics Awareness Week is that we’re incredibly lucky to have antibiotics but we’re increasingly seeing a sting in the tail in terms of antibiotic resistance.”

Antibiotic resistance is caused by the overuse of antibiotics or where they are used incorrectly (such as people not completing the course).

More choice

This year, the awareness campaign is urging people to become ‘Antibiotic Guardians’ by taking one of a number of pledges, including:-

  • self-treating colds, sore throats and coughs for five days before visiting a GP
  • speaking to a pharmacist before visiting a GP
  • safely disposing of unused antibiotics by taking them to a pharmacy
  • if the NHS offers a flu vaccination, accepting it
  • Taking antibiotics as prescribed

Sandra, who spent 25 years working as an NHS pharmacist, added: “We are not saying don’t contact a health professional if you feel ill, but there are reputable websites, such as NHS Choices, which can be used in the first instance.”

Events

A number of events will take place to raise awareness, as follows:-

November 17, 11:00-14:00: there will be an information stand in the University’s Atrium

November 18, 11:00-14:00: research showcase event, again in the Atrium, showing some of the work the University is doing in relation to antibiotic resistance

November 18, 18:30-20:00: Cafe Scientifique public lecture, Mass Vaccination: The Bradford Story, presented by Dr Dinesh Saralaya, BRI respiratory consultant, and Faiz Ilyas, one of the first people to contract covid in Bradford, who is now a vaccine ambassador.

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