Antibiotic guardians in Wolverhampton needed to support life-saving medicines
People are being urged to step forward and pledge to support life-saving medicines helping their neighbours.
Medics and families are needed to become 'antibiotic guardians' to ensure the drugs continue to heal sick patients.
It comes as healthcare professionals warn slow resistance to antibiotics is becoming one of the nation's biggest threats.
Councillor Paul Sweet, Wolverhampton council's cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: "Bacteria adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic, and so they are losing their effectiveness at an ever increasing rate.
"Indeed, it is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections.
"It's therefore really important that people use antibiotics in the right way – the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time for the right duration. They should be taken as prescribed, never saved later or shared with others."
The third annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which launched yesterday, aims to highlight that antibiotics are a 'precious resource' to be used only when prescribed.
Medics fear resistance to antibiotics is growing, which would mean routine treatments could become increasingly dangerous in the future.
This could include setting broken bones, basic operations, chemotherapy and animal health, which all rely on antibiotics.
Councillor Sweet added: "In addition, people take antibiotics for mild infections when they don’t need to. Colds, coughs, earache and sore throats usually get better without antibiotics.
"Anyone who has any of these conditions should instead speak to their pharmacist who will be able to give advice on the best remedies.
"There are very few new antibiotics in the development pipeline. Using them in the correct way will help to slow down the development of antibiotic resistance and make sure these life-saving medicines continue to stay effective for ourselves our children and grandchildren.
"I'd urge healthcare professionals and residents to make the pledge and become an antibiotic guardian, and for people to think twice about taking antibiotics unless they have specifically been prescribed them by their GP."
National campaign Keep Antibiotics Working, launched by Public Health England last month, supports government efforts to reduce inappropriate prescriptions for antibiotics.
People in Wolverhampton are being urged to trust medical advice and only take antibiotics as directed to ensure they remain effective for longer.
For more information see antibioticguardian.com