Antibiotic resistance continues to pose a big risk to health.
The Irish Pharmacy Union is trying to highlight correct drug use ahead of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day this Sunday.
IPU says patients should not take antibiotics for common complaints such as coughs, colds or sore throats because they do not work on viral diseases.
IPU President Daragh Connolly said health services had increased levels of antibiotic resistance which could affect daily procedures.
"It's important that everyone is responsible for ensuring that antibiotics are only used when absolutely needed," said Mr Connolly,
"The main message is that antibiotics should only be taken when patients really need them to treat certain bacterial infections. For those who suffer from coughs, colds, sore throats, sinusitis, flu, vomiting and diarrhea, antibiotics will not work and should not be taken .
"It's alarming that, at a time when we have to reduce antibiotic use, in the first half of this year the level of antibiotic consumption in Ireland has actually increased, with Irish people taking 7% more antibiotics than they did 15 years ago.
"We consume too much antibiotics and this causes an increase in antibiotic resistance. If this problem is not addressed, the antibiotics used to treat the current infection will become ineffective or may stop working altogether in the future."
IPU offers advice on when and when not taking antibiotics:
- Don't take antibiotics for colds and flu; sore throat, cough, vomiting and diarrhea;
- If you really need to take antibiotics, take it exactly as specified and complete the entire program, even if you feel better;
- Do not store antibiotics for later use or share them with others;
- Don't expect to be given antibiotics for viral conditions.
– Digital desk