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Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from spreading. But they do not work for everything.

Many mild bacterial infections get better on their own without using antibiotics.

Antibiotics do not work for viral infections such as colds and flu, and most coughs and sore throats.

The NHS website gives information on antibiotics:

  • Uses
  • Considerations
  • Side effects
  • Interactions
  • Antibiotic Resistance

Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk. To help keep antibiotics working you are urged to always take your doctor or nurse’s advice on antibiotics.

Become an antibiotic guardian

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today.

Why it is relevant to you: Without effective antibiotics, many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy all rely on access to antibiotics that work.

What we want you to do: To slow resistance we need to cut the use of unnecessary antibiotics. We’re asking everyone in the UK, the public and the medical community to become Antibiotic Guardians.

Call to action: Choose one simple pledge about how you’ll make better use of antibiotics and help save this vital medicine from becoming obsolete.

For more information visit the antibiotic guardian website.

Antibiotic awareness resources

Resources to support Antibiotic Guardian, the UK-wide campaign to improve and reduce antibiotic prescribing and use.

Visit the Government website to find posters, quizzes and other information to support the appropriate use of antibiotics.


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