Hampshire patients are being urged to treat themselves better without antibiotics this winter.

Doctors across the county are supporting a new health campaign to get people self-treating minor winter ailments, as research reveals nearly half the UK population still think antibiotics can treat cold and flu. In fact, antibiotics do not have any effect against symptoms like colds and flu as these are caused by viruses and antibiotics only work against bacteria.

The Treat Yourself Better Without Antibiotics campaign aims to educate people on symptoms and how long they last, plus advice on how best to treat it with pharmacy support instead of the GP, which costs the NHS millions of pounds a year.

Dr Sarah Schofield, clinical chairman of West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If people feel unwell with cold or flu symptoms they should visit their pharmacist in the first instance as in the majority of cases GPs can’t help.

“There is no ‘cure’ for colds and flu. You can treat the symptoms with some practical self-care measures and over-the-counter medicines.”