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Antibiotics and children’s health

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Rita Som Rita Som - Editor

This week hosts two important events vying for the attention of primary care nurses. European Antibiotic Awareness Day takes place every year on November 18, while the DH is hosting a Week of Action (17 to 24 November) to promote a 'healthy start' for children and young people. There is some crossover here and I look forward to the webinar hosted by Pauline Watts and Wendy Nicholson on reducing A&E and GP visits through better management of minor illnesses.

Many GP and A&E visits, as well as health visitor and community nurse consultations, are sought by parents concerned by what amounts to a minor illness, although the effects on the child can be worrying. There is often an expectation that antibiotics will fix things, returning the child to good health. Yet, in many cases antibiotics are not the answer: the illness will self-limit and resolve without them, while symptoms can be treated in other ways.

A summit held at the Royal Pharma Soc, in conjunction with RCGP, RCN, the Infection Prevention Society and others, discussed the need for urgent action to change the culture over antibiotics and slow antimicrobial resistance. Eighty per cent of antibiotic prescribing takes place in primary care. Primary care nurses and other healthcare professionals must take responsibility for changes in prescribing and educate patients on correct and misuse of antibiotics, as well as the consequences, to change this culture of expectation.

Without your stewardship, antimicrobial resistance will increase, leaving children and adults vulnerable, and modern medicine a different place.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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