Your Health

In association with Sligo Today

Pharmacists warning over threat of antibiotic resistance

Added: 14/11/16 : 13:35:30

             In the week leading up to European Antibiotics Awareness Day (Friday 18 November), pharmacists today warned that antibiotics need to be respected as a precious life-saving medicine to be used sparingly and appropriately and only when absolutely necessary.

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics is detrimental to the future health of all patients and is putting patients at risk, according to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), the representative body for community pharmacists.

IPU President Daragh Connolly commenting on the dangers of the overuse of antibiotics said, “Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant threats to patient safety in Ireland. Repeated and improper use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance in Ireland and around the world. If we allow antibiotic resistance to grow, the antibiotics used to treat infections today will become ineffective or will stop working altogether in the future.  This will not only cripple our ability to fight routine infections but will also undermine the treatment of more complicated infections, especially in patients with chronic diseases.”

He warned that antibiotics will not work on viruses like colds and flu, and overuse can lead to bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotic.

“It has been medically proven that antibiotics are only effective for bacterial infections and do not work for the common cold, cough, sore throat or sinus infection, which are caused by viruses. It is important to remember too that flu is an extremely contagious respiratory illness and can lead to serious illness, even death, particularly for elderly patients and those suffering from chronic illnesses or a weakened immune system. The flu vaccination, which is available in your local pharmacy, is the best way to reduce your chances of getting seasonal flu and spreading it to others,” added Mr Connolly.

Mr Connolly also encouraged patients to do their part in reducing unnecessary antibiotic use and offered the following advice:

1.      Don’t take antibiotics for colds and flu.

2.      If you do need to take an antibiotic, take it exactly as prescribed and finish the full course
         even if you are feeling better.

3.      Do not save antibiotics for later use or share them with others.

4.      Don’t expect to be prescribed antibiotics for viral conditions
Obesity report shows risk factors between schools

Added: 14/11/16 : 13:42:53

There are significant differences in risk factors contributing to childhood obesity among children attending schools in disadvantaged areas compared to pupils attending other schools, according to a HSE-commissioned report by the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre (NNSC) at University College Dublin.

Children in third class who attended schools under the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity Schools) programme were less likely to eat fresh fruit daily (45.5%) compared to those in others schools (61.1%). They were also less likely to eat vegetables daily (41.6%) compared to students in other schools (56.2%). 

About 61.3% of first-class children attending DEIS schools spent two hours or more watching television during the week compared to just 30.2% in other schools. Overall, DEIS students from surveyed families also spent more time watching television at weekends.

However, first class DEIS schoolchildren were more likely to play outside for three hours or more at weekends compared to students in other schools (74.9% v 50.5%). In addition, some 29.3% of first class children in DEIS schools walked or cycled to schools, compared with 14% in other schools.
The report collected information on first and third class students through family questionnaires issued in 2010 and 2012. Approximately 3,000 families took part in the study.

Over the study period, more than nine out of ten children from both first and third class were found to eat breakfast every morning.

“Almost two-thirds of first-class children ate fruit on a daily basis while just under half of children ate vegetables on a daily basis,” said Dr Mirjam Heinen, lead author, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science.

“Our research also showed that sugary drinks were becoming less popular in children’s diets with more parents saying their kids only sometimes or never consumed these in 2012 (50.4%) than 2010 (40.6%),” continued Dr Heinen.

More than 80% of first-class students were members of a sports club with almost three quarters participating in activities at least two days a week. Over three-quarters of first-class students travelled to school in a motorised vehicle during the same year.

“These findings highlight the need for policies that tackle overweight and obesity by working effectively with children and their families in schools to promote healthy lifestyles and wellbeing,” said Prof Cecily Kelleher, Director, National Nutrition Surveillance Centre.

"The HSE welcomes the insights of this report. They will help to inform the direction of our work to reduce the number of children who are overweight or obese in Ireland,” said Sarah O'Brien, HSE National Lead, Healthy Eating and Active Living Programme..