Even before Covid-19 makes its exit, health experts are warning of a hidden pandemic of antibiotic resistance infections. The UK Health Security Agency says, one in five people with an infection in 2020 had an antibiotic-resistant one.
The experts are also warning that cold symptoms will be more common this winter as more people mix socially, but antibiotics may not be the answer. The agency says this could put everyone’s health at risk as harmful bacteria evade treatment.
The concern here is that, if the bacteria causing these infections no longer responds to treatment with antibiotics, serious complications could occur, leading to hospital admission.
UKHSA chief medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins said antimicrobial resistance was a hidden pandemic that could put pressure on an-already stretched out healthcare system.
As we head into winter, with increasing amounts of respiratory infections in circulation, it is important to remember that antibiotics are not needed for many cold-like symptoms. Stay at home if you feel unwell
Take Only If Needed
Antibiotics are drugs that are prescribed only when really needed, such as for the treatment of sepsis, meningitis or pneumonia. They are also sometimes taken to help protect against infection during chemotherapy, caesarean sections and other common surgeries.
However, doctors sometimes prescribe them to treat coughs, earache and sore throats - infections that dropped in number last year due to changes in people's behaviour brought on by the pandemic.
But the proportion of antibiotic-resistant infections grew over the same period, prompting warnings of further increases to come. Dr. Hopkins said:
Taking antibiotics when you do not need them only puts you and your loved ones at more risk in the future, so please listen to your GP, nurse, dentist or pharmacist's advice.