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Treat Yourself better

New health campaign supports people to self-treat minor winter ailments, as research reveals nearly half the UK adult population still think antibiotics can treat cold and flu.
Doctors in the Henfield Medical Practice are supporting a new campaign to encourage people to self-treat minor ailments such as colds and flu the winter. The Treat Yourself Better Without Antibiotics website is full of information to help people understand when how long they can expect their symptoms to last for, when they need to see a doctor and when they would be better off visiting their local pharmacist for advice. 

You can visit the website at here

If you have cold or flu symptoms, the Henfield doctors suggest you visit a pharmacy initially, as in the majority of cases GPs can’t help, and unnecessary appointments cost the NHS £35.2 million a year and countless practice hours. The campaign has been launched after new research reveals that nearly half the UK population (45%) believe antibiotics can treat cold and flu, and slightly more (48%) admit to having visited their GP with an expectation of being prescribed them for this purpose. In fact, antibiotics do not have any effect against symptoms like cold and flu as these are caused by viruses, and antibiotics only work against bacteria. Over-use of antibiotics is a serious issue which can lead to dangerous bacteria developing immunity. What were previously simply treatable infections are becoming serious and in some cases life-threatening. 

Treat Yourself Better Without Antibiotics is a new campaign from Pharmacy Voice and the PAGB which aims to educate people on normal symptom duration and provide advice on self-treatment with pharmacy support, in order to help people avoid unnecessary visits to their GP surgery, which costs the NHS £35.2 million a year and countless practice hours.

Supported by a wide range of public health organisations including the Department of Health and Public Health England through European Antibiotic Awareness Day, the Treat Yourself Better Without Antibiotics campaign urges people to better self-treat winter ailments such as coughs and colds rather than going to the GP and asking for antibiotics. According to NICE, respiratory tract infections are responsible for 60% of antibiotic prescribing in general practice and annual prescribing costs for acute cough alone exceed £15 million. Continuation of over-prescribing antibiotics from GP surgeries could mean a potential major public health problem for our own and future generations, so educating people now is vital. 

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor John Watson said, "The increasing threat from antibiotic-resistant infections is so serious that in 20 years' time we could be back to how it was in the 19th century when routine operations could be fatal as a result of everyday infections. The Chief Medical Officer’s call to action has definitely struck a chord. Through campaigns like this, I hope we can change the way people think about antibiotics and we are pressing for it to be much higher up the global political agenda. It is however important to remember that winter flu and its complications can kill - that's why it's important that those who are offered the flu vaccine take it up to protect themselves and others.

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