The Fono

Health & Social Services

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Antibiotics - Use them wisely

Pharmacists are the gateway to accessing medicines. To prevent misuse of medicines, they can engage with people and ensure the medicines provided are safe, appropriate and effective. Here we provide some key information on antibiotics.

Improved health literacy - obtaining and understanding basic health information to make appropriate decisions - is vital.

Patients can prevent the misuse of medicines by making sure they know what their medicine is called, what it is for, how much and how often to take it. This information is available from doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

Antibiotic resistance - a global concern

  • Antibiotics are FOR BACTERIA. They are NOT FOR VIRUS
  • Repeated and improper use of antibiotics is the primary cause of increases in drug resistant bacteria
  • Experts are striving to keep pace with antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, but infectious organisms adapt quickly
  • Antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and some parasites but do not work against viruses - taking them for viruses can contribute to antibiotic resistance

Consequences of misuse

  • When bacteria become resistant to first line (initial) antibiotic treatments, the risk of complications and even death increases
  • Doctors may also resort to less conventional medications, many of which cost more and may cause more serious side effects
  • Increased costs associated with prolonged illnesses, including expenses for additional tests, treatments and hospitalisation, and indirect costs, such as lost income

Safeguarding their effectiveness

  • Understand when antibiotics should be used and don’t pressure your doctor for antibiotics if you have a viral illness – look at alternative ways to relieve symptoms
  • Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed
  • Prevent the spread of germs through good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly
  • Get recommended vaccinations
  • Never take antibiotics without a prescription – if you don’t complete a full course of antibiotics, do not use the leftover medication the next time you get sick or to pass on to someone else - the antibiotic might not be appropriate for another illness or there may not be enough pills to combat the germs making you sick, which can lead to more resistant bacteria

Do not take for viral infections

  • Bronchitis
  • Most coughs, colds and flu (influenza)
  • Most ear infections and sore throats
  • Stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis)

Take for bacterial infections

  • Bladder infections
  • Many wound and skin infections, such as staph infections
  • Severe sinus infections that last longer than two weeks
  • Some ear infections and strep throat

The Fono Pharmacy 

We offer pharmacy services at three of our clinics - Henderson (West), Manurewa (South) and City (Central). We also offer prescription renewal online. 

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