Winter wake-ups: Think before taking antibiotics
ANTIBIOTIC resistance is a serious health issue for Australians, but it can be reversed if antibiotics are used correctly.
Resistance occurs when bacteria change to protect themselves from an antibiotic. The experts advise that the more we use antibiotics, the more chance bacteria have to become resistant to them.
Remember, you don't become resistant to antibiotics, bacteria do. And, resistant bacteria can spread to other people.
With winter upon us and the flu at our door, it's time to think about how we can reduce the risk of long-term health issues through incorrectly using antibiotics either by not following the guidelines for theirs use or using them when other treatments are better for us.
Did you know ?
- Antibiotics are overused in human health in Australia.
- Antibiotics will not make you better if you have an infection caused by a virus. This includes most sore throats, ear infections, coughs and colds.
- If you are prescribed antibiotics for a bacterial infection, use them as directed by your GP.
- Preventing infections and their spread helps stop antibiotic resistance by reducing the need for antibiotics.
- Antibiotic resistance can also affect your pets.
The Federal Government Health Department recommends we -
- Prevent infections by regularly washing your hands and keeping up to date with vaccinations
- Prevent food-borne infections by washing fruits and vegetables and cooking food properly
- Understand that antibiotics only work against bacteria. They do not work for colds and flus which are caused by viruses
- Don't pressure your health professional for antibiotics if they say you don't need them; ask about other ways to relieve your symptoms
- Only take antibiotics when they are prescribed for you.
- Don't use or share leftover antibiotics.
- Follow your health professional's instructions when you are prescribed antibiotics.