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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 216188, tabled on 4 February 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking reduce the use of antibiotics by people that have (a) a cold and (b) influenza.

Answered on

12 February 2019

Public Health England (PHE) has developed a number of initiatives to educate and remind the public that antibiotics cannot be used to treat viral infections such as the common cold and influenza. To protect vulnerable members of the population, PHE has a seasonal influenza vaccination programme for those aged over 65, all children aged two to nine years, pregnant women and those in certain clinical risk groups.

PHE launched the ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ national campaign in October 2017 to highlight the risks of antibiotic resistance to the general public, with the aim of reducing patient pressure on general practitioners to prescribe antibiotics. The multi-media campaign, which features advertising on television, radio, outdoor, digital, social media, public relations and extensive partnership support, ran for a second year in 2018. Details of the campaign can be viewed at the following link:

The e-Bug programme, now in its tenth year, aims to educate children, young people and communities about microbes, hygiene, infections and antibiotics. Further information on the e-Bug programme is available at the following link:

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care