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Urging parents to back antibiotics campaign

Plunket urges parents to back antibiotics campaign

Plunket has added its voice to a national campaign urging people not to overuse antibiotics, in a bid to bring antibiotic resistance to a halt.

The Wise Use of Antibiotics Campaign, officially launched today, aims to encourage people to use antibiotics only when they are needed, so they will remain effective.

The campaign, which is spearheaded by PHARMAC, also reminds people colds and flu should not be treated with antibiotics as they are viral infections.

Plunket's general manager clinical services, Angela Baldwin, says the organisation has lent its support to the campaign for the first time this year as it carries some important messages for parents of young children.

"Research has shown that parents often expect antibiotics for their children when they are suffering from winter ills. It's understandable that they want their children to feel better and seek help for them, however when it comes to colds and the flu old fashioned remedies like plenty of rest and fluids is the key. Antibiotics won't kill viruses, and that's what colds and the flu are."

Angela Baldwin says it is important that parents do continue to seek expert help, as health professionals are trained to know the difference between a virus and a bacteria.

"Antibiotics are a valuable treatment against infection, and it is important they remain that way. The more we use them when they are not needed, the less effective they will become when they are needed. We need to protect their effectiveness for future generations."

The campaign, now in its fifth year, has already seen some successful results in reducing the level of antibiotic prescribing. PHARMAC figures show that there has been a nearly 16 percent drop in prescribing levels.

"Those involved in the campaign should be congratulated for the work they have done in contributing to the downward trend in antibiotic prescribing. Now the challenge remains for this work to continue and for more and more people to take on the message that antibiotics don't kill viruses like colds and flu."

The Wise Use of Antibiotics Campaign is running throughout the winter months, and posters and brochures will be on display in doctors' surgeries and pharmacies around the country.

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