Public Health England urges caution on antibiotic use

Public Health England has launched a new campaign in the North West of England, highlighting the dangers of taking antibiotics when you don't need them. A powerful film shows the possible consequences of failing to take action on antibiotic resistance - showing a world in which common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become far riskier.

It is estimated that 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections. Antibiotic resistant infections are caused by the unnecessary and inappropriate use of antibiotics, such as not taking them as prescribed or saving them for later use. The campaign encourages patients to take their doctor's advice on when antibiotics are required.

Antibiotics are needed for serious bacterial infections but don't work for everyday viral infections such as cold and flu - pharmacists can provide advice on treating these illnesses. If you take antibiotics when you don't need them, the dangerous bacteria inside you can become resistant to antibiotics. This means they are less likely to work for you when you really need them, such as for serious infections like pneumonia, urinary tract infections and meningococcal meningitis. You can also pass on antibiotic resistant bacteria to your loved ones.

Find out more about antibiotic resistance