What can I do to help prevent antibiotic resistance?
There are lots of things that each individual can do to help prevent antibiotic resistance. Overcoming the threat of antibiotic resistance requires cooperation between patients, the general public, healthcare providers, farmers and policy makers around the world. It may feel like a huge task, but there are some very simple ways that each of us can help stop this global problem.
Top tips for preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance
Wash your hands properly using soap regularly. Antibacterial soap is probably no better than general purpose soaps, so don’t let the lack of one put you off!
Cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing and dispose of the tissue immediately. If you don’t have time, cough into the crook of your elbow. Don’t cough into your hand or keep a hanky in your pocket!
If your symptoms are mild (e.g. sore throat), give your body time to clear the infection naturally before visiting your GP. For a chest infection, this could be up to three weeks.
Don’t ask your doctor for antibiotics if you have a cold or the flu, or any other viral or fungal infections. Trust them if they say antibiotics will not work for your illness.
Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Keep taking your prescribed antibiotics for as long as they are prescribed for, even if your symptoms clear up sooner.
Never borrow antibiotics or give them away to someone else, even if their symptoms are the same as yours.
Dispose of any old antibiotics properly (e.g. at a pharmacy).
Other ways to help
We are the world’s only charity working to prevent antibiotic resistance. As well as helping to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance using the guidelines above, why not see if you can help us in our mission? We fund research into new antibiotics and alternative treatments, but we also educate people on the issues around antibiotic resistance and provide support to those affected by resistant infections.
Find out more