Portsmouth GPs warn against antibiotics for flu

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PEOPLE are being told not to expect a prescription of antibiotics for coughs, colds or the flu.

Figures from NHS England show in the Portsmouth area almost 390,000 courses of antibiotics were prescribed by GPs and practice nurses between October 2013 and September 2014.

This equates to almost two prescriptions for every three people, and works out at 1,068 prescriptions a day, seven days a week.

GPs now want a greater public awareness of the limitations – and risks – of antibiotics in order to stop people expecting treatments which do not make a difference.

The message comes ahead of European Antibiotics Awareness Day, which is on Tuesday.

Dr Elizabeth Fellows, of Milton Park Practice, in Goldsmith Avenue, Southsea, said: ‘Any GP would say many people still think antibiotics are a magical cure-all, and patients can get upset if they are not prescribed them when they feel ill.

‘As doctors we probably need to look again at how we respond to patients who expect these treatments, but it is also essential that people realise that antibiotics are often not the answer.

‘If you have a cough, cold or flu, the overwhelming chances are that antibiotics won’t do you any good at all. More than that, they could leave you vulnerable to other infections which can be worse than the initial illness.’

GPs instead advise that people buy over-the-counter remedies from pharmacies.