HSE website aims to tackle overuse of drugs

In a bid to tackle the overuse of antibiotics, the HSE has launched a new website to give advice on common illnesses.

The interactive site has been developed by the HSE in partnership with GPs and pharmacists to give straightforward advice and guidance on common ailments like colds, flu, cough, rashes and more.

It tells how long symptoms should last, what to expect, and what you can do to cope with and recover from these illnesses.

It also features a series of informational videos by GPs and pharmacists.

Launched yesterday by Health Minister Leo Varadkar, www.undertheweather.ie marks a renewed effort in the health sector to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

Research shows some people still believe antibiotics can treat common illnesses like colds, flu, earaches and tummy bugs.

In fact, antibiotics are useless against most of these infections, caused by viruses.

The HSE says rest, fluid and paracetamol are all people need to get over most conditions. 


Speaking at the launch, Mr Varadkar said using antibiotics improperly can make infections more resistant.

“The Under the Weather campaign is about ensuring that we only use antibiotics when we really need them. Using antibiotics when they’re not necessary can cause harmful side-effects,” he said.

The director general of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, highlighted the importance of the campaign.

“Antibiotic resistance is a global health threat, and one that is being tackled on a range of fronts, in Ireland and internationally,” he said.

“We need to ensure that we preserve antibiotics for when they are really needed.”


The HSE national director for quality and patient safety, Dr Philip Crowley said the aim of the campaign was to give guidance to people when they are unwell and let them know the dangers of taking antibiotics unnecessarily.

Undertheweather.ie will be promoted through radio and online advertising and through social media over the winter months.

It is part of the ongoing Action on Antibiotics programme which has been in place since 2011 to help curb antibiotic resistance.

For more information, go to www.undertheweather.ie 


Cold: Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest, and eat healthily.Symptoms should ease after four or five days.Colds can last longer for children — up to two weeks.

Flu: Most common in November to March. Symptoms can come on very quickly. They include shaking, weakness, temperature. Lots of rest and fluids advised.Symptoms can last as long as three weeks.

Cough: May be accompanied by other symptoms.

Pharmacists can advise on over-the-counter medicines to help.

Most coughs improve after four or five days.

Rash: Two types of rashes: one arrives suddenly and is gone within two weeks; other more gradual conditions can remain longer.

Either can be a skin condition or allergicreaction. Take antihistamines to relieve itchiness. If suitable, take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve pain.

Don’t use steroid or antibiotic cream without seeing a GP first.

Temperature: If suitable, take paracetamol or ibuprofen. Drink plenty of fluids. Dress lightly.

Sore throat: Most people have a sore throat two to three times a year. Symptoms should subside after three to five days. Avoid very hot or very cold fluids. Eat cool, soft food and drink warm or cool fluids. Lozenges can also help.

Tummy bug: Symptoms include vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Vomiting can last between 12 and 24 hours. Diarrhoea can last between 24 and 48 hours. Do not eat until 6 hours after last vomit. Sip clear fluid like water or flat 7Up.


Fiann Ó Nualláin follows in the footsteps of the Fianna as he explores a province’s hills and vales.Munster marvels: Plants that are unique to a province

Cupid must be something of a motoring enthusiast, as he had most definitely steered his way in the neighbourhood when Amie Gould and Shane O’Neill met at the Rally of the Lakes 12 years ago.Wedding of the Week: Cupid steers couple to right track

When it comes to podcasting, all it takes is one idea — and who knows where it can take you.Podcast Corner: Crimes and creatures rule at Cork’s first podcast fest

Claymation meets science fiction in this enchanting film, writes Esther McCarthy.Latest Shaun adventure is out of this world

More From The Irish Examiner