St Helens has the highest rate of antibiotic use in the North West, new figures have revealed.
Statistics show that one in five people in the borough have taken antibiotics in the past three months.
That figures raises concerns for health chiefs, who are supporting a new campaign highlighting the dangers of taking tablets when it is unnecessary.
Dr Joe Banat, local GP and board member of St Helens CCG, said: “Antibiotics are needed for serious bacterial infections but don’t work for everyday viral infections such as cold and flu.
“Many people ask their GP for antibiotics when they aren’t needed. If you take antibiotics when you don’t need them, the dangerous bacteria inside you can become resistant to antibiotics.
“This means they are less likely to work for you when you really need them.”
St Helens Council’s Interim Director for Public Health, Sue Forster added: “40 per cent of people in the North West don’t realise that if someone has taken antibiotics in the last year, any infection they get is more likely to be antibiotic resistant. They can also pass on antibiotic resistant bacteria to loved ones.
“St Helens Council and CCG are working with local GPs to reduce the number of antibiotics prescribed unnecessarily and support the Public Health England campaign to help people become aware of the dangers of taking antibiotics.”
For further information on antibiotic resistance please search NHS Antibiotics or visit www.nhs.uk/keepantibioticsworking.