European Antibiotics Awareness Day (November 18th) highlights that antibiotics do not treat viruses, including COVID-19

The Irish College of General Practitioners is warning that the public needs to be reminded that antibiotics do not work for viral infections such as COVID-19, influenza and colds. If taken unnecessarily, can do more harm than good.

Overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which is making people suffer more and die younger.

European Antibiotics Awareness Day aims to remind everyone how valuable antibiotics are, how important it is that we use them wisely and that these amazing drugs are under threat from the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

COVID-19, influenza, colds are viral infections – antibiotics do not work for viral infections.

Dr Nuala O’Connor, GP and Lead for Antibiotic Resistance with the Irish College of General Practitioners said:

“Antibiotics are not effective for the treatment of viruses, they only kill bacteria.

Most patients coming to see their GP with symptoms of infection such as temperature, coughs, sore throat, ear ache, stuffy noses, sinus symptoms, flu aches and pains, rashes, vomiting and diarrhoea have viral, not bacterial infections.

Some will have COVID-19 and will be referred for testing by their doctor. COVID-19 is a viral infection so antibiotics don’t help.

Remember that being advised you do not need an antibiotic is a positive outcome of a visit to the doctor.”

Under the Weather

The HSE, in partnership with general practitioners and pharmacists has a website which gives practical, common sense advice and information on dealing with many common illnesses such as colds, flu, earaches, sore throats, tummy bugs and rashes.

Under the Weather provides sound advice to give the public the confidence and skills necessary to take care of themselves and their families without resorting to antibiotics.


ISSUED BY Aileen O’Meara, Communications Consultant ICGP.
Tel. 01 2542984 / 087 2239830
Twitter @ICGPnews