Video: Dr Jane Coleman: “Antibiotics are not always the answer”
Doctors are warning more serious infections recorded in Nottinghamshire are showing worrying resistance to antibiotics.
Medics have spotted drugs used to treat urine infections are becoming less effective and have had to move on to a different version of the medicine.
It comes after the NHS warned antibiotic resistance is becoming so serious across the UK the drugs may become useless without action.
Dr Hugh Porter, a GP and part of NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning, said: “Fighting infections is a growing problem because of this.
Antibiotics are one of our most precious medicines
“Antibiotics are one of our most precious medicines and we all need to play our part helping preserve them.”
Antibiotics are also used to treat serious infections like pneumonia.
But they are also sometimes wrongly used for minor conditions like colds and coughs, against which the medicine is ineffective.
The medicine can then adapt within the body, which can help bacteria build resistance.
Graphic: Regional breakdown of how four common antibiotics are now ineffective against E.coli in one per cent to 25 per cent of infections in Britain. A darker red indicates greater resistance. (Government ESPAUR Report 2014).
Public health bosses are now trying to prevent GPs from giving in to patients who wrongly ask to be prescribed the drugs, while using an advertising campaign to better explain how they work.
Jane Coleman, a GP at the Fairfields Practice, Hyson Green, said:”Antibiotics are not the answer to colds and sore throats, they don’t help so it’s a waste of time.
“Antibiotics were amazing when they were first introduced but over time they have been used to treat people who don’t need them.
“Doctors want to help people but I think taking the time to explain why antibiotics won’t help the patient get better, that is a good way to help patients.”
Public Health England recently reported two NHS patients who have been infected by forms of potentially deadly E.Coli and Salmonella which had unusually high levels of resistance.
The group is worried if the infections spread through the UK, resistance will accelerate, turning back the clock on modern medicine.
The NHS in Nottingham has released new leaflets showing the correct way to take antibiotics and when they should be prescribed.
It is hoped better use of the drugs combined with international work to develop new antibiotics could eventually reverse the trend.
Different types of antibiotics and how they are used
- penicillin – widely used to treat a variety of infections, including skin infections, chest infections and urinary tract infections
- cephalosporins – can be used to treat a wide range of infections, but are also effective for treating more serious infections, such as septicemia and meningitis
- aminoglycosides – tend to only be used to treat very serious illnesses such as septicemia, as they can cause serious side effects, including hearing loss and kidney damage
- tetracyclines – can be used to treat a wide range of infections; commonly used to treat moderate to severe acne and rosacea, which causes flushing of the skin and spots
- macrolides – can be particularly useful for treating lung and chest infections; can also be a useful alternative for people with a penicillin allergy or to treat penicillin-resistant strains of bacteria
- fluoroquinolones – broad-spectrum antibiotics that can be used to treat a wide range of infections