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Public health promotes antibiotic awareness

Antibiotics Awareness Day 19 -11-18 (Photo John Bugeja) awareness stall inside ICC

The Public Health Department hosted a stall outside the ICC yesterday to raise knowledge about antibiotic awareness.

Last week was World Antibiotic Awareness and the campaign encourages best practice among the public, health workers and policy makers, with the intention of preventing the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance

Nathan Lightbody, an infection control practitioner within the GHA said, “We want to raise awareness with the public that the use of antibiotics should decrease. We tend to go to doctors for colds and people insist that antibiotics are given.”

“When we have viral infections antibiotics don’t work,” he added.

Antibiotics he explained are mainly for bacterial infections and swabs or specimens are taken to ascertain if the antibiotic is required.

“We recommend that you don’t go to the GP because your son has a temperature for one night, try to keep them for one or two days and if their temperature doesn’t settle with paracetamol, nurofen and things like that then you go to your GP,” said Mr Lightbody.

He states that they want to avoid people having so many antibiotics because they are also put in food “and we are getting resistances, we are seeing more and more resistances to antibiotics.”

Mr Lightbody explains that an increase in resistances results in an increase in superbugs such as C. diff, a bug we have in our gut ourselves and it is encouraged by too much antibiotics or steroids and ironically we give antibiotics to get rid of it but it changes our natural gut flora and that is how the bug survives.

“Before we used to see it in the elderly but now we are seeing it in healthier people as well because we are all taking too much antibiotics,” said Mr Lightbody.

Appealing to people who do need antibiotics and are prescribed them Mr Lightbody is asking that they take the full course as indicated by the doctor and not just cease once they are feeling better.

“If people are told its viral and not given antibiotics by the doctor, they will find another avenue to get the antibiotics thinking this is going to cure them. They take it having been ill for a couple of days and then they say it works. But, it has not actually worked, it is your immune system that has kicked in,” said Mr Lightbody.

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