Infections that our bodies are good at fighting off on their own, like coughs, colds, sore throats and flu, should be treated without antibiotics most of the time. It is important to talk to your pharmacist about how you can treat your symptoms.
For most infections you take antibiotics for, you’ll start to feel better after a few days, but that doesn’t mean you should stop taking your course. If you stop your treatment early the infection could come back. It is important to always complete the course exactly as your doctor has advised.
For more information about how to take antibiotics correctly, and potential side effects, see: nhs.uk/keepantibioticsworking
Different antibiotics are prescribed to different people for different reasons, even if symptoms are similar. Sharing them with friends and family, or storing them for the future can do more harm than good. It is important to dispose of unused antibiotics by taking them to your local pharmacy.
The overuse of antibiotics in recent years means they’re becoming less effective and has led to the emergence of “superbugs”. These are strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to many different types of antibiotic. Each time you take antibiotics without consulting your doctor you could be increasing the chance of them not working in the future. It is important to seek your doctor’s advice, even for reoccurring conditions.
When are antibiotics needed?
Antibiotics are needed for serious bacterial infections, such as sepsis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), sexually transmitted infections (STIs), meningococcal meningitis. If you are feeling under the weather, or have a cold, flu or sore throat, you can self-care by getting plenty of rest and keeping well hydrated.
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