Antibiotic awareness – background information

Antibiotic awareness is everyone’s responsibility.


Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infections. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from spreading.

Antibiotics aren’t effective against viral infections, such as the common cold, flu, most coughs and sore throats.

Many mild bacterial infections can be cleared by your immune system without using antibiotics.

Taking antibiotics always alters the normal bacteria in your body. This often results in side effects such as diarrhoea.


What do we mean by antibiotic stewardship?

Antibiotic stewardship is the appropriate use of antibiotics to keep their effectiveness in the future. So when one of us has a serious, life-threatening infection there are antibiotic that will work against the infection. We all need to act NOW.


Antibiotic resistance

Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them. Taking antibiotics for mild illnesses such as coughs, colds and sore throats can result in antibiotic resistance.

Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic. We can pass on resistant bacteria to other people.

To keep antibiotics working, use antibiotics in the right way – your healthcare professional chooses the right antibiotic and the right dose when they are necessary. Patients to take antibiotics at the right time and for the right length of time. Take your health care professional’s advice.