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Keep Antibiotics Working

Become an Antibiotic Guardian
How to look after yourself and your family
Contact your GP
Antibiotics NHS information
Patient information
Healthcare professional resources
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Did you know

Good hygiene is essential in reducing the risk of spread of infections and is especially important in households with individuals who have chronic illnesses.
Poster-image.pngAntibiotics do not work for all colds, or for most coughs, sore throats or earache. Your body can usually fight these infections on its own. They are important medicines and should only be taken when prescribed by a health professional.
Taking antibiotics unnecessarily encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them. This puts you and your family at risk of a more severe or longer illness. Take your GP, pharmacist or nurse’s advice when it comes to antibiotics.
When antibiotics are prescribed by a health professional it is important that you always take them as directed, never save them for later and never share them with others. They can have side effects as they upset the natural balance of bacteria potentially resulting in diarrhoea and/or thrush. The use of inappropriate antibiotics may also allow other more harmful bacteria to increase. Antibiotics also cause other side effects such as rashes, stomach pains and reactions to sunlight.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria don’t just affect you, they can spread to other people (and animals) in close contact with you and are very difficult to treat.

How to look after yourself and your family

If you or a family member are feeling unwell, have a cold or flu and you haven’t been prescribed antibiotics, here are some effective self-care ways to help you feel better:

  • ask your pharmacist to recommend medicines to help with symptoms or pain
  • get plenty of rest
  • make sure you or your child drink enough to avoid feeling thirsty.
  • fever is a sign that the body is fighting infection and most fevers will get better on their own - use paracetamol if you or your child are feeling uncomfortable
  • make sure to use a tissue for your nose and wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading your infection to family and friends

If you’re worried, contact to your GP who will be able to advise you on the best treatment for your symptoms.
For more information on antibiotics visit:
Become an Antibiotic Guardian
and protect yourself, your family and friends against the spread of antibiotic resistance at

Patient information for download
Keep Antibiotics Working leaflet pdf
Healthcare professional resources
AntibioticGuardianLeaflet_3-Fold_FINAL_ For healthcare professionals.pdf

School children information
Materials for school children and their families are available via e-bug, Junior and Family Antibiotic Guardian, which educate on infection prevention and control as well as microbes, their spread and use of antibiotics with schools. Back to school bubble e-storybook to help children understand the new protective measures that may be in place near their school.