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40% rise in antibiotic prescriptions for coughs and colds

rise in antibiotic use for coldsA recent study has revealed that the number of patients with coughs and colds given antibiotics by GPs has risen 40% this century.

The study – carried out by the University College London and Public Health England and which looked at more than 500 UK GP practices between 1999 and 2011 – also found significant differences in the way GPs treat the illnesses.

The study comes in the wake of recent government efforts to reduce the number of prescriptions given for antibiotics, due to the fact they do not have an impact on common coughs and colds. They are effective in only 10% of sore throat conditions.

Actual figures revealed that patients prescribed antibiotics for coughs and colds was 36% in 1999, but shot up to 50% by 2011 – a 40% rise.

The dark ages of medicine

The study has been published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, and follows Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent warning that, unless we take serious action on the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, we could be “cast back into the dark ages of medicine”. Read in full

Posted on in Flu

Ask Your Pharmacist Week (4th-11th November)

ask your pharmacistWhat is ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’?

From 4th – 11th November 2013, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) will launch Ask Your Pharmacist Week.

The initiative will focus on the advice and treatment for common ailments and a host of other community pharmacy-based support – all with the aim of helping people to stay healthy during winter.

Community pharmacies are a fantastic and convenient way to get help and remedies for the coughs, sneezes and other health problems that are inevitable part of the colder season, but don’t need a GP or hospital appointment.

Protect yourself from flu by getting a jab if you’re:

  • 65 or over
  • Pregnant
  • Have a medical condition, such as asthma
  • Living in a residential, nursing or care home or receive Carer’s Allowance
  • A carer for a disabled or elderly person
  • You’re a healthcare or social worker

If you want a flu jab but aren’t in any of the above groups, some pharmacies can arrange it for a small cost. Read in full

Posted on in Flu