Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today and the overuse or misuse of antibiotics is making the problem worse.

Antibiotics are essential medicines for treating bacterial infections in both humans and animals, but they are increasingly losing their effectiveness. Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic so that the antibiotic no longer works. The more you use an antibiotic, the more bacteria become resistant to it.

Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, transplants, even chemotherapy all rely on access to antibiotics that work. To slow resistance we need to cut the use of unnecessary antibiotics.

The ‘Keep Antibiotic Working’ and ‘Antibiotic Guardian’ campaigns are being run by Public Health England, with the support of a range of partners including NHS Greater Huddersfield and NHS North Kirklees CCGs locally. Members of the public, health professionals, health leaders and those who work with, own or treat animals are being encouraged to visit the Antibiotic Guardians website and choose a pledge that they can fulfill and play their part in protecting some of our most precious medicines.

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Clinical Leader of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG is encouraging everyone to take up the pledge:

“We are asking everyone across the area to support this as one of the greatest threats to the health of our nation is antibiotic resistance. There are very few new antibiotics in development, which is why it is important existing antibiotics are used wisely and these life-saving medicines continue to stay effective for ourselves and future generations.”

This also comes in the countdown to European Antibiotic Awareness Day on Saturday 18 November – but people can make a pledge at any time.

Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, but they are frequently being used where not necessary to treat illnesses, such as coughs, colds and sore throats, that can get better by themselves.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG also asks patients to remember:

“Antibiotics should only be taken as prescribed, and never saved for later or shared with others. It is also important to use antibiotics in the right way – the right dose, at the right time for the right duration. Appropriate use of antibiotics will slow down the development of antibiotic resistance.”