Durham patients have been urged to take action to help prevent the potentially deadly consequences of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance has risen to dangerously high levels across the world and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
It is estimated if the current rate of antibiotic resistance continues, more than three million surgical operations and cancer treatments could become life threatening each and every year, as complicating infections will become more common.
Dr Stewart Findlay, Chief Officer for DDES and North Durham CCGs, said: “If we don’t take action, antibiotic resistance will become a huge problem. Public Health England estimates that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people worldwide than cancer and diabetes combined.
“While antibiotics are really important in the prevention and treatment of infections when used appropriately, it is estimated that at least 20 per cent of all antibiotic prescriptions are not needed, and this is accelerating the problem of resistance.
“Many common conditions such as coughs, colds, sore throats and ear infections are viral and do not respond to any treatment.”
More than 75,000 people and organisations have signed up to be an Antibiotic Guardian, which involves choosing one simple pledge to make better use of antibiotics.
Dr Stewart continued: “We have signed up to be Antibiotic Guardians, and have pledged to protect antibiotics by only prescribing them when they are needed.
“Patients can help by visiting the pharmacy for self-care advice and taking their health care professionals’ advice particularly if they advise your illness does not need antibiotics.
“It is really simple to sign up. You do this by simply visiting the Antibiotic Guardian website. It only takes a few minutes and could make a massive difference.
“Together we can work to slow down antibiotic resistance and keep antibiotics working for the future both for us and for our children.”
To sign up to become an Antibiotic Guardian, visit https://antibioticguardian.com/
For more information on antibiotic resistance, visit http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/antibiotic-resistance.