Superbug 2016 Natural Resistance Tips and Ideas
It is winter and it's important to keep your family well. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health risk to us all now and increasingly in the future. You may have heard it referred to as antimicrobial resistance or AMR. And I want to talk to you about what happens when bacteria, which can cause infections, become resistant to the antibiotics we use to treat these infections. You see, it's the bugs that become resistant, not us. And infections can range from ear infections to more life-threatening, such as pneumonia, or blood poisoning sepsis.
The antibiotics are the drugs that can save lives and extend and improve lives for many people. They kill the bacteria which cause the infection. Imagine a world without them. Something as simple as an infected cut to your finger could leave you fighting for your life, and routine operations, like hip surgery or indeed cesarean sections, and one in fourth births in this country are by cesarean section, could become deadly.
Unfortunately, using antibiotics when we don't need them, or not always taking the full course properly, when we do, gives bacteria in our bodies that opportunity to develop resistance to antibiotics. These bacteria that are resistant and multiply and spread, so that the next time someone needs an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection, they don't work.
What is being done to stop Antibiotic Resistance? We can all play a part in delaying antibiotics resistance and preserving the antibiotics that we do have. Now, there are certain things which antibiotics can't treat, including colds and flu, and yet these are when they're most commonly taken.
What can my family and I do to help stop antibiotic resistance? All parents want to help their little ones when they're unwell, so here are some top tips from us:
- Make sure you regularly clean surfaces, such as your computer keyboard, telephone and door handles, to get rid of germs which can be passed on.
- Everyday things at home and in public places can easily get contaminated with the flu virus. So, it's important to wash your hands and your child's hands frequently.
- Always cough and sneeze into a tissue, and put it into a bin as soon as possible. Coughs and sneezes really do spread diseases.
- Keeping yourself and your children warm over the winter, can help prevent illness. Heating your home to at least 18° or 65°F, and wrapping up when you go outside, will help keep your family well.
- Sore throats, colds, coughs, and earaches usually do get better on their own, without antibiotics. If you do feel unwell, drink lots of fluids, rest, and make sure you get at least one hot meal a day. You won't get better overnight. A sore throat usually lasts a week and a cold could last 10 days. You can use paracetamol or ibuprofen, but the best thing to do is to speak to your pharmacist, who can advise on the best medication.
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Understandably, GPs will always get pressure, especially from parents, to prescribe antibiotics every day. And I know that your worst fear is your children getting ill and you want to protect them, but trust us to know when you and your family will need antibiotics; you don't need to ask for them. But if you are prescribed antibiotics, then make sure you finish the course, so they kill off the infection. Don't save or share antibiotics either with anyone else.