Become an antibiotic guardian

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Pharmacy staff at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust will be supporting this year’s European Antibiotic Awareness Day on Tuesday (November 18), with the focus on the importance of using antibiotics correctly.

While the drugs have saved millions of lives and helped to fight infections since the 1940s, they are becoming ineffective against many infections because they are not being used properly. Latest figures show that 25,000 people in Europe die each year from infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

The two causes are people who take antibiotics for symptoms that do not require them, such as colds and flu, and people who do not take them exactly as prescribed.

Information and advice will be available in the main foyers of Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital. Pharmacy staff will also be encouraging colleagues and members of the public to pledge to become an antibiotic guardian at www.antibioticguardian.com and commit to do one thing that will help tackle the issue.

Ian Bourns, the trust’s chief pharmacist, said: “Antibiotics are becoming less effective against many infections as they aren’t being used properly. If we don’t take action to deal with the problem now, this will lead to more deaths and more complications for people receiving treatment in hospital.”