Now more than ever we need to continue to work together to prevent serious infections – including COVID-19 – whilst reducing inappropriate antibiotic use.
To avoid inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in the context of COVID-19 and other viral infections, healthcare professionals need to:
- Follow current NICE guidelines to infer if pneumonia has a COVID-19, viral or bacterial cause
- Treat coughs, fever and breathlessness related to COVID-19 in line with new clinical guidance, not with antibiotics. Please consider the COVID-19 and Flu pathway for diagnosis, testing and clinical management
- Explain to patients that antibiotics do not prevent or treat viral infections including COVID-19. Antibiotics can cause side-effects, including nausea and diarrhoea. Antibiotics use can also increase the risk of spreading infections that are caused by bacteria resistant to antibiotics
- Consider your local antimicrobial stewardship strategy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to determine what is still feasible and what may need to be adapted or strengthened.
The national surveillance report on antimicrobial prescribing, resistance and stewardship (the ESPAUR report) is available here.