Antibiotics are often requested for unpleasant infections commonly caused by viruses e.g. sore throats, coughs, colds, chest infections and flu. They are also requested for other problems such as ear or urine infections. Although we appreciate these infections make you feel unwell, research has shown that they will often get better just as quickly by using simple measures such as regular pain relief and fluids rather than taking antibiotics.
Antibiotics do not work on viruses and more importantly using antibiotics for these conditions will increase your risk of allowing bacteria you may have heard of such as C diff and MRSA to cause problems. Killing off the normal ‘good bacteria’ with antibiotics will allow these bacteria to multiply and grow unchecked.
C diff is the major cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and colitis, an infection of the intestines.
MRSA belongs to the family of bacteria which commonly causes infections such as boils, carbuncles, infected wounds, deep abscesses and bloodstream infection
This winter we suggest that you ask your community pharmacist for advice about simple but effective measures available over the counter. The practice will of course see you and prescribe antibiotics when necessary.