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MRHT marks European Antibiotic Awareness Day

 Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore marks European Antibiotic Awareness Day

Local Pharmacist asks everyone to only use antibiotics when appropriate to ensure these valuable drugs remain effective

An antibiotic awareness stand was set up recently at Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore (MRHT) to mark European Antibiotic Awareness Day. This is an annual event to remind everyone how valuable antibiotics are, how important it is that we only use them when we need them and to highlight that these amazing drugs are under threat from the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

Clare Greene an Antimicrobial Pharmacist hosted an information stand at MRHT to mark European Antibiotic Awareness Day and said, “There was good engagement from staff and members of the public with patient stories and quizzes. People seemed keen to avoid antibiotic over-use which is great. I made them aware of www.undertheweather.ie which is a good resource for managing common complaints. My role in MRHT supports ongoing awareness and teaching with our Consultants and Non Consultant Hospital Doctors to highlight the problem of antibiotic resistance and promote appropriate use of these valuable drugs to ensure that they stay effective. Following our local guidelines is important to make sure that we prescribe the right drug for the right bug when antibiotics are needed. Following guidelines is easy with the new MRHT App in the hospital while GPs visit antibioticprescribing.ie.

MRHT has also recently been awarded a grant for scrub tops to be worn by front-line staff promoting antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) which encourages the appropriate use of antibiotics (and other antimicrobials). These scrub tops highlight that AMS is everybody’s business.

Dr. Eileen Sweeney, Infectious Diseases Consultant in MRHT & St. James’s Hospital says; “Antibiotics are amazing drugs that eliminate bacteria and are usually very safe for us. In just over 100 years, antibiotics have transformed modern medicine and extended the average human lifespan by 23 years. But over the last 100 years or so, a lot of antibiotics have been used in people, animals and on crops when they were not appropriate. Because of all the antibiotic use, many bacteria have adapted and become resistant - antibiotics no longer work as well as they did 20 years ago. This is known as antibiotic resistance which is a serious problem as we need antibiotics to allow surgery to go ahead for example. Antibiotics can cause more harm than good if taken unnecessarily.” 

Dr. Des Windsor McGlynn, a Midlands GP says, “A key message of EU antibiotic awareness day is to use antibiotics only when they are going to help someone get better. Antibiotics don’t help you to get better faster if the infection is caused by a virus such as COVID-19, colds or flu. As a GP I still get some requests for antibiotics from people who have viral infections or for their children with self-limiting conditions. Antibiotics will not help them get better and in fact can cause side effects like upset tummies, rash or C. difficile diarrhoea. It is safer for you not to take an antibiotic if you don’t need one - because antibiotics, like all medicines, can have side effects.”

Stand

The HSE, in partnership with general practitioners and pharmacists has a website which gives practical, common sense advice and information on dealing with many common illnesses like colds, flu, earaches, sore throats, tummy bugs and rashes. www.undertheweather.ie provides sound advice to give us the confidence and skill we need to take care of ourselves and our families without resorting to antibiotics.

The most effective weapon against common viral infections is your body’s immune system. The best way to treat symptoms of most common viral infections is rest, drink fluids and take paracetamol or ibuprofen. It is still important to get checked by your GP if you are worried especially for very young children, older people and those with long-term medical conditions or whose immune system is suppressed.

Your GP will be able to judge if you are likely to have an infection that needs treatment with an antibiotic. If your GP says you do not need an antibiotic this is good news because antibiotics are should only be taken for when you need them to treat a bacterial infection.

Picture Captions: Picture 1 - Lt to Rt - Catriona McDonald General Manager MRHT, Clare Greene, Antimicrobial Pharmacist MRHT.

Picture 2 - Lt to Rt - Sarah Lynskey, Clinical Pharmacist MRHT, Clare Greene, Antimicrobial Pharmacist MRHT, Marlieze Krielaart, ED SHO MRHT.

Picture 3 - Clare Greene, Antimicrobial Pharmacist MRHT giving advice on when to use antibiotics.