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by Robert MacKay, Friday, November 19, 2010 | Categories: General Health

Sharing the day with European Antibiotic Awareness day, the Department of Health yesterday launched a campaign that seeks to spread the awareness regarding the responsible use of antibiotics. Although antibiotics are available on prescription only in the UK, many people stock up on treatments when abroad or purchase from irresponsible websites. People do not know when they should take antibiotics or how to take them appropriately. This misuse has caused the development of resistance and certain bacterial infections can no longer be treated with antibiotics.

Through ignorant misuse, people are responsible for the increasing bacterial resistance. Taking care to not self-diagnose and to only take medication that has been prescribed, taking a complete course of antibiotics and according to the recommended methods of administration will help to safeguard the success of antibiotics in the fight against infections in the future.

Antibiotics are used for the treatment of infections caused by bacteria and not for viral infections such as flu and colds. For common colds, fluids, relaxation and over the counter remedies such as paracetemol are sufficient for the alleviation of symptoms. Many people hassle their doctor for antibiotics when they have a cold and unless they have secondary complications such as a chest infection, antibiotics are not required.

If fewer antibiotics are used, the development of resistance will slow down. There are very few new antibiotics in development so more time spent in establishing new and effective antimicrobial agents is vital.

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