‘Don’t turn to antibiotics to treat flu or colds this winter’

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With the flu season upon us people are being urged not to turn to antibiotics.

The Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) is advising against the use of antibiotics for coughs, colds and flu.

There is a general misconception that antibiotics can treat winter conditions and 44 per cent of all people who visit their GP suffering from a cold or flu want or think they need antibiotics.

Although antibiotics are important medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria, winter conditions such as cold and flu are viruses and cannot be treated by antibiotics.

The best treatment is to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and there are over the counter remedies available to ease symptoms.

Dr Bruce Ella, clinical lead for medicines management at BCCG and GP said: “By only using antibiotics when it’s appropriate to do so, we can slow down resistance and make sure these life-saving medicines remain effective when we need them the most.

“We now know that most coughs and colds get better just as quickly without antibiotics and the most effective way to protect yourself from flu is to get a vaccine.”

If a cold lasts more than three weeks, or you become breathless or have chest pains, see your doctor.