MANY mild bacterial infections get better on their own.
But some require a course of antibiotics to shift them so you can can get back on your feet.
Usually, the only way to find out whether you need them or not is to see your GP.
And with the NHS at crisis point – especially during the winter months – it can be a long, painful wait to get an appointment.
But now Superdrug is offering a "test and treat" service to those with a sore throat to take the pressure off the health service.
All you have to do is visit a Superdrug Pharmacy and ask for a free 10-minute consultation service.
During which the pharmacist will ask you a series of questions to determine your symptoms.
They'll then decide whether you need a full throat examination.
This may include a swab test to accurately identify whether the cause of your sore throat is viral or bacterial.
Antibiotics don't work for viral infections – so if that's the case then you'll likely be advised to try a throat spray and some paracetamol.
If the cause is bacterial then you will either be prescribed an antibiotic treatment – at the same cost as a normal prescription – or you can be referred to your GP.
Doctors are reluctant to prescribe antibiotics due to resistance.
Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant, meaning that antibiotics may not work when they are really needed.
The overuse of antibiotics in recent years means they're becoming less effective and has led to the emergence of 'superbugs'.
These are strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to many different types of antibiotics, including:
- MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
- the bacteria that cause multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis
These types of infections can be serious and challenging to treat, and are becoming an increasing cause of disability and death across the world.
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The biggest worry is that new strains of bacteria may emerge that cannot be treated by any existing antibiotics.
Both the NHS and health organisations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics, especially for health problems that are not serious.
New figures from Public Health England (PHE) show that there was a nine per cent surge in killer superbug cases from 2017 to 2018.
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