Why won’t my GP prescribe antibiotics for my cold?


  • Antibiotics do not work for viral infections like colds and flu or for most sore throats and earaches
  • Antibiotics cannot prevent viruses spreading to other people
  • Antibiotics only fight infections caused by bacteria

What is antibiotic resistance?


  • When bacteria adapt and survive the effects of antibiotics, they no longer work, this is called ‘antibiotic resistance’
  • The more you use antibiotics, the greater the risk bacteria will develop resistance
  • This means when you need antibiotics they may not work
  • By only using antibiotics when necessary, they are more likely to work when we really need them
  • We all have a responsibility to protect antibiotics for our children’s generation

What can I do about antibiotic resistance?


  • Only use antibiotics when it is appropriate, and only under the instruction of your doctor, nurse or pharmacist
  • If you are given antibiotics make sure you complete the course as prescribed
  • Never share antibiotics with other people

What other effects can antibiotics have?


  • Antibiotics can upset the natural balance of bacteria of your body
  • This allows other more harmful bacteria to increase and can mean you experience side effects such as thrush or diarrhoea