It may not always necessary or advisable to receive Anti Biotics for simple conditions such as sore throats, colds, coughs, or chest problems. Please discuss the need for anti biotics with the GP who will be happy to help and advise.
How Anti Biotics Work
To understand how antibiotics work, it helps to know about the two major types of germs that can make people sick: bacteria and viruses. Although certain bacteria and viruses cause diseases with similar symptoms, the ways these two organisms multiply and spread illness are different:
Bacteria are living organisms existing as single cells. Bacteria are everywhere and most don’t cause any harm, and in some cases may be beneficial. Lactobacillus, for example, lives in the intestine and help digest food.
But some bacteria are harmful and can cause illness by invading the human body, multiplying, and interfering with normal bodily processes. Antibiotics are effective against bacteria because they work to kill these living organisms by stopping their growth and reproduction.
Viruses, on the other hand, are not alive and cannot exist on their own — they are particles containing genetic material wrapped in a protein coat. Viruses “live,” grow, and reproduce only after they’ve invaded other living cells.
Some viruses may be fought off by the body’s immune system before they cause illness, but others (colds, for example) must simply run their course. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics at all.
Why It’s Harmful to Overuse Them
Taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses not only won’t work, but also has a dangerous side effect: over time, this practice helps create bacteria that have become more of a challenge to kill.
Frequent and inappropriate use of antibiotics can cause bacteria or other microbes to resist the effects of antibiotic treatment. This is called bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance. Treating these resistant bacteria requires higher doses of medicine or stronger antibiotics. Because of antibiotic overuse, certain bacteria have become resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics available today.
Taking Antibiotics Safely
So what should you do when your child gets sick? To minimize the risk of bacterial resistance, keep these tips in mind:
Treat only bacterial infections. Seek advice and ask questions. Letting milder illnesses (especially those thought to be caused by viruses) run their course to avoid the development of drug-resistant germs may be a good idea — but it’s still best to leave what constitutes a “mild illness” up to your doctor. Even if the symptoms don’t worsen but linger, take your child to the doctor. At the office, ask questions about whether your child’s illness is bacterial or viral, and discuss the risks and benefits of antibiotics. If it’s a virus, don’t pressure your doctor to prescribe antibiotics, but ask about ways to treat symptoms.
If your child is prescribed antibiotics be sure to:
Use antibiotics as prescribed. Don’t save antibiotics for next time. Never use another person’s prescription.
Ask your doctor about ways to treat the symptoms that are making your child uncomfortable, such as a stuffy nose or scratchy throat, without the use of antibiotics.
Use the medication properly. Antibiotics are only effective against a bacterial infection if taken for the full amount of time prescribed by the doctor — and they take time to kick in, too, so don’t expect your child to feel better after taking the first dose. Most children take 1 to 2 days to feel a lot better. Similarly, don’t let your child take antibiotics longer than prescribed.
And most important, never use antibiotics that have been lying around your home. Never take antibiotics that were prescribed for another family member or adult, either — doses for children vary, and if your child did have an illness requiring antibiotics, you’d want to make sure you were treating it correctly.
Saving antibiotics “for the next time” is a bad idea, too. Any remaining antibiotic should be thrown out as soon as your child has taken the full course of medication.
Help fight antibiotic resistance by taking simple steps to prevent the spread of infections. Encourage hand washing, make sure your children are up to date on immunizations, and keep children out of school when they’re sick.
Doctors are aware of increasing antibiotic resistance and are trying to solve the problem. New antibiotics might be on the horizon, but antibiotics will continue to need to be prescribed and used appropriately.
It is entirely wrong to expect or demand anti biotics from the GP and patients will only receive a prescription on clinical findings.
The GPs will not over prescribe anti biotics, nor will they avoid prescribing where there is a real need to do so. Patients are asked to undestand that the GP will act in the patients best interest at all times.
Anti biotics are not useful in simple coughs and colds, hayfever, or most sore throats or ears. Please discuss your case with the GP to understand why you have or have not received a prescription.
Antibiotics Each year 25% of the population visit their GP for a respiratory tract infection (eg sinus, throat or chest infection). These are usually caused by viruses. For patients who are otherwise healthy, antibiotics are not necessary for viral infections. These infections will normally clear up by looking after yourself at home with rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol.
Ear infections typically last 4 days 89% of cases clear up on their own
A sore throat typically lasts 7 days 40% of cases clear up after 3 days and 90% after 7 days without antibiotics
Sinusitis typically lasts 17 days 80% clear up in 14 days without antibiotics
Cough/bronchitis typically lasts 21 days Antibiotics reduce symptoms by only 1 day Antibiotics only work for infections caused by bacteria. Taking unnecessary antibiotics for viral infections should be avoided because they may not be effective next time you have a bacterial infection. Patients with long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes and COPD are eligible for flu and pneumococcal vaccinations. Ask at reception for more information.