Healthcare professionals and residents are being urged to make a pledge to become an Antibiotic Guardian – and in doing so help ensure that life saving medicines can remain effective for longer.

This is World Antibiotic Awareness Week, highlighting the fact that antibiotics are a precious resource which should only be used when prescribed by a certified health professional.

By making a pledge at Become an Antibiotic Guardian, healthcare professionals and residents can help slow resistance to antibiotics, one of the biggest threats facing the world today.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. 

“To slow resistance to antibiotics, we need to cut the unnecessary use of them – and so we are calling on healthcare professionals and the general public to become Antibiotic Guardians by making a simple pledge about how you’ll make better use of antibiotics which will help stop these vital medicines from becoming obsolete.

"It's really important that people use antibiotics in the right way – the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time for the right duration. They should be taken as prescribed, never saved later or shared with others, nor should they be taken for mild infections when you don’t need to.”

For more details about World Antibiotic Awareness, and to make a pledge to become an Antibiotic Guardian, please visit Become an Antibiotic Guardian

Meanwhile, people are being urged to hand in their old or unused antibiotics to their local pharmacy for safe disposal.

Donna Cooper, Antimicrobial Workstream Lead for NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is a great opportunity for us to highlight the importance of using antibiotics correctly. Antibiotics aren’t a cure for all illnesses – they don’t work against viral infections such as colds or flu, while many mild bacterial infections get better on their own.

“Using them inappropriately increases the risk of antimicrobial resistance, where the antibiotics become less effective as the bugs learn to protect themselves against them. That’s why it’s important that people only ever take antibiotics that have been prescribed to them and they finish the course unless instructed by a healthcare professional. Antibiotics should never be saved to be used later, and never given to someone else.

“We all have to do our best to preserve the benefits of existing and future antibiotics, which is why we’re urging anyone who has any old or unused antibiotics at home to please drop them off at their local pharmacy who will dispose of them safely.”

The theme of this year's World Antibiotic Awareness Week is 'preventing antimicrobial resistance together', and calls on collaboration across sectors to preserve the efficacy of these critical medicines.