Date: 02 November 2018
Antibiotics are essential to treat serious infections such as sepsis, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves.
Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
As antibiotic resistance increases common procedures such as caesarean sections and hip replacements could become life-threatening without antibiotics to ward off infections. Cancer patients are also much more vulnerable if antibiotics don’t work; both cancer and the treatment (chemotherapy) reduce the ability of the immune system to fight infections and antibiotics are critical to both prevent and treat infections in these patients.
It’s important that, when it comes to antibiotics, you always take your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional’s advice.
For further information on antibiotic resistance visit www.nhs.uk/antibiotics