Leeds residents urged to take antibiotics seriously this World Antibiotic Awareness Week

The NHS in Leeds will be joining health organisations around the world this week (18-25 November) to raise awareness of the global problem of antibiotic resistance and to encourage people to pledge to tackle it.

The World Health Organisation is calling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) one of the biggest threats to global health. Antibiotics kill bacteria or prevent them from spreading, but bacteria are adapting to survive them, so these medicines are becoming less effective. People who need chemotherapy or surgery are at greater risk.

Healthcare professionals across the city are therefore supporting Seriously Resistant (www.seriouslyresistant.com); a campaign by Leeds NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)  to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and encourage local residents to pledge to keep antibiotics working.

Dr Gaye Sheerman-Chase, Principal Medical Adviser for Medicines Optimisation at the CCG said: “Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today, even with the coronavirus pandemic. But just as there are things we can do to slow the spread of Covid, there are also ways that we can slow down antibiotic resistance.

“Antibiotics should only be used when we really need them. For example, colds, flu and most coughs are viral infections, and antibiotics can’t treat those. All you need is plenty of rest and a visit to your local pharmacy for remedies which you can buy over the counter.

“Listen to your GP, pharmacist or nurse’s advice. If you are given antibiotics, it’s important that you finish the full course; not save them for future use, and never share them with others.

“Another important factor is preventing infections in the first place – something we should all be familiar with this year – by regularly washing hands, preparing food hygienically, avoiding close contact with sick people, practising safer sex, and keeping vaccinations up to date.

Councillor Salma Arif, Executive Member for Public Health and Active Lifestyles at Leeds City Council, said: “We share an ambition for Leeds to be the UK city that makes the biggest impact on antibiotic resistance.

“We’re working with healthcare professionals across the city so that we only prescribe antibiotics when it is necessary to do so, but we also need the support of all who live and work here to achieve our goal.

“I’d urge everyone to visit the Seriously website – www.seriouslyresistant.com –  to find out what you, your family and friends can do to help tackle antibiotic resistance  and to pledge to help keep antibiotics working.”