Health officials issue warning over excessive antibiotic use

October 24th, 2017
Health officials issue warning over excessive antibiotic use

Health officials have issued a warning over excessive use of antibiotics. According to experts from Public Health England, up to 20 percent of antibiotic prescriptions given out in England are unnecessary. Officials believe that more patients need to be told to rest and take it easy rather than being given medication in a bid to conquer resistance.

Representatives from Public Health England claim that some people are taking antibiotics for illnesses that don’t actually need treatment. A significant proportion of people would recover without taking medication. Excessive use of antibiotics is contributing to an increased prevalence of infections, which are drug-resistant.

Public Health England claims that patients should be more aware of the dangers of drug-resistant infections. In England, it is estimated that around 5,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant infections, but by the year 2050, these infections are expected to kill more people globally than cancer.

Antibiotics are life-saving treatments for infections such as sepsis, bacterial meningitis and pneumonia, but they are not always required. Health officials are urging people who have minor ailments, such as coughs and bronchitis, to avoid taking antibiotics. In reality, taking medication would only reduce recovery by around 2-3 days and these infections often clear up of their own accord within 3 weeks.

Medical Director at Public Health England, Prof Paul Cosford, said that antibiotics are often not required for common infections and stressed that our immunity is often strong enough to battle illnesses without the need for medication. For minor ailments, Prof Cosford recommended drinking plenty of water, getting rest and taking over the counter painkillers. Prof Cosford also encouraged patients to avoid going to their GP expecting to be given antibiotics.

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