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​​​​European Antibiotic Awareness Day November 18

As part of a worldwide campaign, European Antibiotic Awareness Day aims to raise awareness amongst patients and the general public about the importance of using antibiotics wisely and well to ensure they can continue to protect us all.

Antibiotics are essential medicines for treating bacterial infections in both humans and animals, but, because of overuse, they are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate.

Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic and become 'antibiotic resistant', so that the antibiotic no longer works. Infections that are antibiotic-resistant result in more deaths and more complications for people receiving treatment in hospital. There are many reasons antibiotics lose their effectiveness but the two key ones are:

  • when we take them when we don't need them - such as for coughs and colds
  • when we don't take them exactly as prescribed, for example, stopping the course early or missing doses.

We should never 'save them for later' or give them to someone else.

Appropriate use of antibiotics will slow down the development of antibiotic resistance There are very few new antibiotics now being developed, which is why it is important we use our existing antibiotics wisely and make sure these life-saving medicines continue to stay effective for ourselves our children and grandchildren.

Community pharmacists are well placed to help provide advice on over-the-counter medicines to treat symptoms and help with self-care​.

Visit to find out the simple steps you can take to save our antibiotics.​