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Worried about your cold or flu? Check it out

Worried about your cold or flu? Check it out says Pharmac

With the coughs and colds of winter with us, PHARMAC says people should check out their colds and flu with their doctor, nurse or pharmacist if they are concerned about their illness.

Some infections are caused by bacteria and need antibiotics but many are due to viruses that don’t respond to antibiotics.

The annual Wise Use of Antibiotics was launched today (Thursday) and PHARMAC Medical Director, Dr Peter Moodie says it is important to remember the campaign is about using antibiotics wisely.

“It is not about reducing use of the drugs, but about reducing their unnecessary use.

“We have to use antibiotics, they are very important drugs and while New Zealanders are showing a very responsible approach to the use of antibiotics, we must continue to be vigilant,” says Dr Moodie.

“If you have any doubt about an infection you should seek advice early. Health care is cheaper now than ever before with the advent of PHOs and we should make use of health advice.”

Dr Moodie says if in doubt check it out is the clear message here.

“Your child may well need an antibiotic but at times the best treatment is not to have one. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.”

Latest figures show that the number of dispensings of subsidised antibiotics has dropped by 21% since the PHARMAC-spearheaded Wise Use of Antibiotics campaign was launched six years ago.

“While the number of all prescriptions written is not available, this shows a very good trend. The challenge is to now make sure that New Zealand doesn’t become complacent in its fight against antibiotic resistance.
“Internationally we are doing well, but we must protect these drugs that are so important in the treatment of bacterial infections.”

Dr Peter Moodie says there are also some very pleasing findings from the Colmar Brunton research into the impact of the 2004 Wise Use of Antibiotics campaign. This showed two-thirds of New Zealanders know that antibiotics do not kill colds or the flu.

The research also showed that 85% of New Zealanders are most likely to agree that rest and lots of fluids is the way to treat a cold and flu. Another finding was that just 10% of New Zealanders do not feel their cold or flu is being treated if they are not prescribed antibiotics.

“The message is clearly getting through. Increasingly people recognise that antibiotics are not the answer to fighting colds and flu.”

Dr Peter Moodie says the challenge is to now ensure New Zealand continues to do its bit in the international fight against antibiotic resistance.

“We are not alone in this problem and globally we must ensure we don’t become complacent.”

The PHARMAC campaign is being supported by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, Plunket, the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand, doctors groups (IPAs) and PHOs around New Zealand.


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