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The World Health Organisation (WHO) Antibiotic Awareness Week 12-18 November

World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 12–18 November, aims to increase awareness about antibiotic resistance.

Since their discovery, antibiotics have served as the cornerstone of modern medicine.
They are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, but not needed 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, meaning that they may not work when you really need them. It is really important that you always get advice from a health professional before taking antibiotics. 

Recent data shows that over three million surgeries and cancer treatments may become life threatening without antibiotics.

Public Health England's ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign has also returned to highlight risk of antibiotic resistance. The key messages are:

  • Antibiotics aren’t always the answer
  • Misuse of antiobotics puts us all at risk
  • Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them speeds up antibiotic resistance.
  • Antibiotic resistant infections are more complex and harder to treat. They can affect anyone, of any age, in any country
  • Antibiotics DO NOT treat viral infections like cold and flu
  • Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional before taking antibiotics

Further information about keeping antibiotics working and the importance of using them properly can be found here.

If you need medical help and are unsure what to do, call NHS 111 for help and advice. They are available 24 hours a day.