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Antibiotic awareness

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Antibiotics are important medicines used to treat infection caused by bacteria.

What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are used to prevent or treat infections such as:

  • kidney infections
  • meningitis
  • pneumonia
  • blood poisoning.

Most infections will get better without antibiotics. There are many different types of antibiotics available. Your GP practice will decide if you need them and which type will work best.

Antibiotics will not help fight viral infections such as:

  • all colds and flu
  • most coughs
  • most sore throats.

Antibiotics should be used appropriately

The more antibiotics you take, the less effective they may become at fighting more serious infections. Through incorrect usage of antibiotics, the bacteria in your body can build up resistance against them. By taking antibiotics only when you need them, you can help to make sure they remain effective. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant threats to patients’ safety world-wide and all countries. It's therefore important that we use antibiotics the right way. This can slow down resistance and make sure these life-saving medicines remain effective for us and future generations.

Antibiotic Guardian (external link) runs as part of the activities set out in the UK 5 year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy.  The intention is to encourage at least 10,000 healthcare professionals and members of the public UK-wide to commit to at least one pledge about prudent use of antibiotics.  

Public Health Wales’ Antibiotic Guardian materials (external site) are available in English and Welsh. 

e-Bug education campaign

Wales is now a partner in the e-Bug European-wide education campaign to educate children aged 9 – 11 (juniors) and 12 – 15 years (seniors) about:

  • microbes
  • infections (how they spread and can be prevented or treated)
  • hygiene
  • the importance of using antibiotics wisely.

The information is available in English and Welsh on the e-Bug European-wide education campaign website (external link)

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