Antibiotics are an essential part of treating certain illnesses but they should only be prescribed when they are needed. If you are feeling unwell you should:
- See your GP
- Ask your GP what treatment options are available
- Ask your GP to check if your vaccinations are up to date.
More than half of people with colds, the flu or other upper respiratory infections are prescribed antibiotics, despite them being powerless against viruses. Over prescription of antibiotics can lead to resistance.
This means that antibiotics may no longer work.
Professor John Turnidge, an Australian expert in resistance, says:
“95% of respiratory infections are caused by virus, so antibiotics do nothing but give you side effects.”
When you have certain illnesses, like bronchitis or influenza, the use of antibiotics is not recommended by Australian Therapeutic Guidelines.
So what should I do?
It’s still important to see your GP if you are feeling unwell. Your GP is the best person to advise the right treatment for you.
Annual flu vaccination is recommended for anyone aged over 6 months who wishes to reduce their chances of becoming ill with the flu.