‘Keep calm and antibiotics aren’t always the answer’

Mon 06th January 2014

Keep calm and antibiotics aren't always the answer

‘Keep calm and antibiotics aren’t always the answer’ – is the key message from the North East’s NHS this winter.

As part of the regional NHS ‘Keep Calm’ campaign being backed by all 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the area, people are being reminded that antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate and many winter-related ailments often get better without antibiotics.

Dr John Matthews, spokesperson for North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Bacteria can adapt and find ways to survive the effects of antibiotic, becoming resistant so that the antibiotic no longer works.  The more you use an antibiotic, the more bacteria become resistant to it.

“It’s important that we use antibiotics in the right way, at the right dose and ensuring the full course is taken as prescribed so they are most effective.

“Antibiotics can also have side effects as they upset the natural balance of bacteria potentially resulting in diarrhoea and/or thrush.  The use of inappropriate antibiotics may also allow other more harmful bacteria to increase.

“The best way to treat most colds, coughs or sore throats is plenty of fluids and rest.  For more advice, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.”

Speaking earlier this year, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer said: “Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat.  If we don’t act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics.”

The Keep Calm plea is one of three key messages being highlighted by NHS organisations across the region in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Darlington and Teesside.  They have joined forces to back the ‘Keep Calm’ campaign which gives advice on how to treat a range of common winter conditions by keeping a well-stocked medicines cabinet at home or speaking to your local pharmacist.

The Keep Calm campaign launched on November 18 and includes a dedicated website  with information on common winter illnesses, what the symptoms are, how to treat them, how long they will last. It includes advice on what to keep in your winter medicines cabinet so you can be ready to treat illnesses as they start.

The campaign will be seen on regional TV adverts, buses, social media and printed materials in GP practices, pharmacies and other venues across the region.  It is targeting normally healthy people who suffer a winter ailment.

The campaign message of ‘Keep Calm and look after yourself’ runs across three threads including:

  • Keep Calm and ask a pharmacist
  • Keep Calm and call 111
  • Keep Calm and antibiotics aren’t always the answer

Don’t forget to follow the campaign on Twitter:


And use the hashtag #keepcalmne when you Tweet.