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Had a bad cough? Were you given antibiotics by your GP? We'd like to hear from you

28 July 2016

We are working on some research looking at how to prolong the use of antibiotics to treat illnesses. 

It is a serious subject. The bacteria that cause things like coughs and colds, as well as other nasty illnesses, are becoming ever more resistant to the antibiotics we have. Bacteria are very good at adapting, and because we keep using the same antibiotics, they are finding ways to overcome them.

The World Health Organisations fears that if things continue the way they are we could run out of effective antibiotics by 2050. That would men in a generations' time minor illnesses could be much more serious, and even worse fatal to vulnerable people. In addition antibiotics used to protect people after surgery, chemotherapy or childbirth could be useless.

The last new antibiotics discovered were some 20 or more years ago, and it could take a long time before any new ones come along. One way to prolong the use of the antibiotics we have is to reduce how much we use them. Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed because it's unclear if a chest infection or illness is caused by a virus or bacteria, so just in case they're given to a patient. Doctors are getting more tools to help them understand what's causing the illness, but sometimes it's down the the patient - you or me. 

If you or someone you care for was given antibiotics for a cough and took them or, felt that actually you'll hold off for a few days, or decided that maybe they weren't needed - then we'd like to know how you make those decisions.

 Please email Jaimie Ellis who is carrying out the research - and keep an eye on our website (twitter and facebook too) for updates J.Ellis@soton.ac.uk

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