Do your bit to keep antibiotics working

The weather is getting colder and we may be more susceptible to colds and other bugs going around.

Please do not ask your GP to supply antibiotics when you have viruses like flu or colds – as they don’t work.

Your local NHS is working together to help tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance, and is supporting the national “Keep Antibiotics Working” campaign this month to remind people that we need to save antibiotics for when they are really needed.

World Antibiotics Awareness Week is also being held from November 18-24.

Antibiotics are essential to treat bacterial infections, but taking them when they are not needed encourages harmful bacteria that live inside us to become resistant. This means that antibiotics may not work when we really need them.

There are some key things that we can all do to keep our antibiotics working:

  • Prevent infections and stop them spreading by:
    • checking you and your family have had all your immunisations
    • washing your hands regularly with soap and water (especially before eating, after going to the toilet, and after coughing/sneezing)
    • catching coughs/sneezes in a tissue (and binning it)
  • Only taking antibiotics when you need them, when advised by your GP. Find out more about when antibiotics are needed here
  • Remembering that cold/flu viruses and stomach viruses, like norovirus, can’t be treated with antibiotics - they usually get better with rest, fluids and over-the-counter remedies. Click here for more information, including when and where to seek advice
  • Always take your healthcare professional’s advice on antibiotics
  • Always take the full course of any antibiotics you are prescribed and never share them with others.

Derek Sandeman, Chief Medical Officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System, said: “As certain bacteria become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections become less effective.

“This can have serious health implications for the person with the infection as well as their family and others who may become infected as a result.”

For more information, and for ways to help the fight against antibiotic resistance, please visit