SOUTH Devon doctors are warning about the dangers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Bacteria are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics, and not many new antibiotics are being developed.
As bacterial resistance grows, it will become more difficult to treat infection.
To raise awareness about the responsible use of antibiotics, GPs are issuing an information leaflet about when and why antibiotics are prescribed.
Dr Nick Roberts, a GP at Kingskerswell and Ipplepen Medical Practice, as well as a locality lead for South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, said it is important GPs and patients work together to reduce antibiotic usage.
He added: "This is a real threat to patients' wellbeing. The resistance comes from the widespread use of antibiotics and prescribing them when simple remedies may relieve symptoms.
"Taking antibiotics for minor illnesses such as many coughs, cold and sore throats means that more bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.
"It's essential we use antibiotics properly, to slow down resistance and ensure life-saving medicines remain effective for us now and in the future."
GPs are giving the leaflet to patients who don't need antibiotics, but visit the surgery with an expectation of receiving them.
Dr Roberts added: "Inappropriate use of antibiotics may increasingly cause patients to become infected with resistant bacteria."
It is also hoped the leaflets and increased awareness will help discourage people with 'sniffles' from visiting A&E, which in turn will reduce the pressures being placed on hospitals this winter.