Raising awareness of proper use of antibiotics

Well Pharmacy has joined forces with the charity Antibiotic Research UK for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) to encourage patients to be antibiotics aware this winter

While antibiotics can help cure your bacterial infections, they won’t help you fight a virus like a cold or the flu – and taking antibiotics when you don’t need them can have serious consequences including increasing the risk of bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics as well as unpleasant side effects for patients.

During World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), Well Pharmacy will be reaching out across their entire network of 750 community pharmacies nationwide and encouraging the safe and effective use of antibiotics this winter.

Pharmacists and pharmacy teams will be talking to patients and handing out information leaflets and guidance explaining that antibiotics don’t work on sickness caused by viruses. This includes most flu and common cold symptoms, such as sore throats, sinus infections, chest colds and bronchitis.

Kate Latham, Professional & Regulatory Standards Pharmacist at Well Pharmacy said: “Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health. It is important to remember that antibiotics do not treat viruses, including the one that causes COVID-19.

“We all need to play our part to slow resistance and cut the unnecessary use of antibiotics. We will use World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) as a platform to talk to our patients and the communities we take care of about this important issue. We are pleased to work in partnership with Antibiotic Research UK and share resources with millions of people over the next week.”

Arlene Brailey, Pharmacist and member of the Patient Support team at Antibiotic Research UK, said: “Antibiotic resistance is a global health disaster that is already killing 700,000 people a year and leaving even more to deal with the life changing impacts of living with a resistant infection. We are therefore thrilled to be working with Well Pharmacy to raise awareness of this issue and provide much needed support and information to patients and pharmacists across the UK.

Professor Colin Garner, the charity’s Chief Executive, welcomes the collaboration with Well Pharmacy and said: “Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them can cause drug-resistant bacteria to develop so we want to reduce this. We have recently published data that shows antibiotic prescribing in England fell during the pandemic. By working with Well Pharmacy, we hope to continue to reduce unnecessary prescriptions by helping people to understand exactly when they might need antibiotics, the other treatments available to help relieve symptoms, and simple steps to stop the spread of infection, such as hand washing and using disposable tissues.”