Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI supports HSE's antibiotic resistance campaign

25 November 2011
A new campaign to raise awareness on the correct use of antibiotics was launched on Friday 18th November to coincide with European Antibiotic Awareness day. It is accepted in Ireland and across Europe that action needs to be taken to curb growing resistance to antibiotics.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is one of a number of partners in Ireland and across Europe who are working with the HSE to deliver a concerted effort to tackle inappropriate antibiotic use. Other partners who are contributing to the campaign include the Irish College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the Irish Pharmacy Union.



The key message of the new campaign is - Antibiotics are wasted on colds and flu. Taking antibiotics when they aren't needed means that they won't work when you really need them for a serious infection. Taking antibiotics for a viral illness, such as a cold or flu, is of no benefit to the patient and is a waste.

Dr. Fidelma Fitzpatrick, Consultant Microbiologist and HSE Clinical Lead for the Prevention of Healthcare-associated Infection, says "Antibiotics have revolutionised the way we treat patients with bacterial infections and have saved many lives since their introduction in the middle of the last century. However antibiotics are sometimes taken unnecessarily for infections such as colds and flu where they have absolutely no benefit for the individual. Using antibiotics when we don't really need them leads to the person building up a resistance to antibiotics: when they really need an antibiotic for a serious illness, an antibiotic may not work. 

"If we don't take action now, we risk wasting one of the most important medical advances of the past 100 years," she concluded.

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