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Guildford woman who nearly lost arm backs antibiotics campaign

4 minute read
Guildford woman who nearly lost arm backs antibiotics campaign

Published at 6:28am 23rd October 2017. (Updated at 2:37pm 23rd October 2017)

A Surrey woman is backing a campaign warning people against using antibiotics when they do not need to.

Linda Record, 55, of Guildford is supporting the call by Public Health England - which says 5,000 deaths a year are caused by the over-use of the drugs.

Linda nearly had her arm amputated following an infection from a horsefly bite - after doctors tried various antibiotics which did not work.

A new Public Health England report, published today, reveals that as antibiotic resistance grows, the options for treatment decrease.

It says: "Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves.

"Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

"It is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections and this figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined."

The Chief Medical Officer and experts around the world say we could be heading towards a "post-antibiotic apocalypse" and "the end of modern medicine."

The Public Health England 'Keep Antibiotics Working' campaign raises awareness that inappropriate overuse of antibiotics puts people at risk of a more severe or longer infection.

It is urging people to take their doctor's advice on antibiotics.

Linda was rushed to hospital in August 2013 after the infection developed into cellulitis and then septicaemia.


It took doctors nearly a week to find an antibiotic that worked - after trying out various medicines.

She said it was terrifying: "I never imagined I could become so ill from a horse fly bite and had no idea that antibiotics might not work for me.

"Staff at the hospital did all they could and tried all the medications they could think of, but none of it helped.

"Four days later it looked like they might have to amputate my arm or put me in an induced coma when they finally found a drug I responded to.

"It still needed three weeks in hospital with antibiotics given through an IV every four hours for me to recover though.

"My experience makes me want to spread the message as much as I can to be so careful taking antibiotics - too much when you don't need them might mean they can't help you when you do."

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, says: “Without effective antibiotics, minor infections could become deadly and many medical advances could be at risk; surgery, chemotherapy and caesareans could become simply too dangerous.

"But reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics can help us stay ahead of superbugs. The public has a critical role to play and can help by taking collective action.

"I welcome the launch of the ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign, and remember that antibiotics are not always needed so always take your doctor’s advice.”

For further information on antibiotics, their uses and the risk of resistance, you can search for 'NHS Antibiotics’ online.

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