Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health issues. One of the reasons for the rise in antibiotic resistance is the over-use and misuse of antibiotics. The more we use antibiotics, the greater the chance bacteria will become resistant to them and they can no longer be used to treat infections.
Antibiotic resistance can cause some bacterial infections which were once easily treatable to become very dangerous.
We all have a role to play in managing the threat of antibiotic resistance; it requires awareness and commitment from healthcare professionals and the public.
How the Isle of Man measures
In the UK antibiotic use has risen by 6.5% in the past 4 years. Our prescribing rates on the island compare favourably to areas in England, with a rate of 566.9 items per 1,000 population, but that must not lead to complacency.
GPs and hospital doctors are being encouraged to prescribe responsibly and educate patients regarding those infections which genuinely require and antibiotic and those that do not.
It is thought that approximately half of all patients visiting their GP with a cough or cold will leave with a prescription, and viruses cause many of these infections meaning antibiotics are of no use. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses.
The Department will be carrying out a public awareness campaign in February and many people will see information in their GP surgeries and pharmacies.
We need to be able to preserve antibiotics for use in the future, otherwise we may find ourselves in a dangerous position whereby routine operations and common infections present serious threats to our health, or indeed, lives.
See what the NHS has to say about how to keep antibiotics working.
Will you be an antibiotic guardian?
The e-bug training site recommended by NICE explains the following topics in more detail:
- Treating your infection leaflet - Why you might not always be prescribed antibiotics by your GP
- Antibiotics and STIs
- Antibiotics and alcohol
- Vaccination advice
- Travel vaccines
- Flu vaccines
- Men ACWY vaccine
- MMR vaccine
- Vaccination myths - Learn the truth behind common vaccination myths and misconceptions
- Patient stories
- How antibiotics work - an animated video