Antibiotic resistance is a global problem-what is the answer? I was on Radio Scotland recently talking about the antibiotic crisis. I gave a questionnaire to my local g.p,'s asking them about pressure they had been under from patient demands and also whether they were following the guidelines on antibiotic prescribing e.g. there are guidelines on how long the course should be and at what dosage. I monitored their prescribing for one week then gave them all the information and audited them one month later. First of all their prescribing was largely in line with the guidelines but they argued that some of the treatment lengths were not long enough and patients came back again. I also talked about a campaign run by Greater Glasgow Health Board about the fact that 80% of sore throats are viral and therefore antibiotics don't work. I was talking at a Health Board Conference and asked members of the audience to raise their hands if they were aware of the campaign and almost every hand went up. We all must use antibiotics only when necessary. Generally, sore throats can be treated with pain killers and sprays that make the throat feel more comfortable. Bed rest and fluids will help you fight a viral infection quicker. If you do get an antibiotic it is impoerative that you finish the course. Not finishing the course can mean that resistance builds up. Lets hope that pharmaceutical companies can come up with a new generation of antibiotics but meantime lets use the ones we've got appropriately and correctly.
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