This week is World Antibiotic Awareness Week and North West London CCGs are encouraging all residents to only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary.
Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection, and work by killing bacteria or preventing them from spreading. They may be used to treat bacterial infections that could infect others or carry a risk of more serious complications.
But taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk. This is because they encourage harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant, and so may not work when you really need them. This puts you and your family at risk of a more severe or longer illness.
Both the NHS and health organisations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics, especially for health problems that are not serious. The overuse of antibiotics in recent years means they're becoming less effective and has led to the emergence of "superbugs" which can be serious and challenging to treat.
Antibiotics do not work for viral infections such as colds and flu, and most coughs and sore throats. Take your doctor or pharmacist’s advice if you’re unsure about whether to take them for your condition.
Remember to never share antibiotics or keep for later use. Your pharmacist can safely dispose of any unwanted or out-of-date medicines. For more information on antibiotics visit www.nhs.uk/keepantibioticsworking