Antibiotic Awareness

Taking antibiotics when they are not needed encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them. This puts you and your family at risk of a more severe or longer illness.

Many common illnesses only last a few days and get better on their own helped by practising self-care:

  • Earache (middle ear infection) most people are well by 8 days 
  • Sore throat most people are well by 7–8 days
  • Sinusitis (adults only) most people are well by 14–21 days 
  • Cold most people are well by 14 days 
  • Cough or bronchitis most people are well by 21 days

If you or a family member is feeling unwell, have a cold or flu and you haven’t been prescribed antibiotics, here are some effective self-care ways to help you feel better: 

  • Ask your pharmacist to recommend medicines to help with symptoms or pain.
  • Get plenty of rest. 
  • Make sure you or your child drink enough to avoid feeling thirsty. 
  • Fever is a sign the body is fighting the infection and usually gets better by itself in most cases. You can use paracetamol if you or your child is uncomfortable as a result of a fever. 
  • Make sure to use a tissue for your nose and wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading your infection to family and friends.

If you’re not starting to improve by these guide times or are concerned, contact your GP or call NHS 111.

You can find out more about becoming an antibiotic guardian at