Leaflets to discuss with patients

Site: Royal College of General Practitioners - Online Learning Environment
Course: TARGET antibiotics toolkit hub
Book: Leaflets to discuss with patients
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Thursday, 18 August 2022, 3:30 AM

Description

TARGET logo, showing some pills and the words TARGET, keep antibiotics workingUsing patient leaflets interactively in consultations is the best way to support effective discussions and maintain patient satisfaction.

Version 1.0, November 2021.


How to use these leaflets

Using patient leaflets interactively in consultations is the best way to support effective discussions and maintain patient satisfaction. Paper copies of the leaflets are not provided by TARGET and should be self-printed.

Click on the links in the menu to access the individual leaflets, and see below for tips on how and why to use this type of communication tool.

Discussing A Leaflet Interactively In Your Consultations

Using patient leaflets interactively in consultations is the best way to support effective discussions and maintain patient satisfaction. Evidence from a Cochrane systematic review (Sullivan et al. 2016)and UK-based trials showed that using leaflets interactively with parents of children with respiratory tract infections (Francis et al. 2009), together with enhanced communication skills (Little et al. 2013) and delayed prescriptions (Little et al. 2005, Macfarlane et al. 2002) helps to:

  • Address patient/parent concerns: you can highlight information about symptoms and expected duration. 
  • Empower patients: you can provide specific examples of how to self-care for infections. 
  • Improve patient recall: patients are likely to better remember the consultation and your advice. 
  • Improve patient satisfaction and enablement: by covering information which addresses patient concerns.
  • Standardise advice: leaflets help deliver a more consistent approach to infection management in your practice. 
  • Support your advice: leaflets can provide objective evidence to support your explanations. 
  • Reduce antibiotic use: patients in trials who had consultations where leaflets were used interactively were prescribed and consumed fewer antibiotics.

How To Use Leaflets Interactively To Engage Patients

  • Introduce the leaflet early: patients may feel "fobbed off" if you just give them a leaflet at the end of the consultation without going through it. You can point to sections within a leaflet whilst you give your explanation about symptoms and management. 
  • Personalise the leaflet: you can add the patient's name and highlight sections which are relevant to them by filling in or circling sections. 
  • Provide options: you can give patients printed leaflets or send them by text message or email.

The TARGET 'Treating Your Infection’ leaflets for common infections are available in 25 languages and in a pictorial format. They all provide information on: 

  • Average symptom duration for common infections 
  • Self-care advice for patients/parents 
  • Safety-netting advice about when to reconsult

Self-care Leaflet

The Managing Your Common Infection (Self-Care) leaflet can be used as a tool to increase patients’ confidence and knowledge on how to self-care for their own infections thereby potentially reduce inappropriate antibiotic use.

Managing your common infection (self-care) leaflet (Welsh)

Managing common infection (self-care) leaflet translations

The following translations do not include the most up to date information about COVID-19, please discuss concerns with your patient as part of the consultation.

For any leaflet queries please contact us: TARGETantibiotics@phe.gov.uk

Self-care Leaflet HTML

Target: Keep antibiotics working logo with four pills making a target sign

A leaflet for adults aged 16 years and over

Contents

What are the symptoms of a common infection?

Labelled silhouette of a human body. The labels are: 1 for eyes, 2 for mouth and face, 3 for chest, 4 for gut, 5 for skin, 6 for genital and bladder area.

 

1. Eyes: Sticky eyes.

2. Ears, nose and throat: Pain or soreness; Runny nose; Swollen tonsils.

3. Chest: Cough; Shortness of breath; Green or yellow mucus.

4. Gut: Vomiting; Diarrhoea.

5. Skin: Infected blisters; Redness or swelling around a wound; Athlete's foot (an itchy rash between the toes).

6. Genital and urinary: Pain on passing urine; Passing urine more often at night; Cloudy urine; Discharge; Pain in lower tummy.

COVID-19 specific advice

If you think you may have COVID-19 then please visit GOV.UK's coronavirus section and the NHS for the latest guidance and information.

Speak to NHS111, a pharmacist or your GP if you are worried about COVID-19.

 

How can I treat a common infection?

  • Get plenty of rest until you feel better.
  • Take pain relief if you need to (make sure you follow the instructions).
  • Drink plenty of fluids (6 to 8 drinks, or 2 litres) so that you pass pale-coloured urine regularly.
Colour strip showing shades pale white-yellow through to amber. There is a smiley face on the pale-white yellow, a neutral face in the middle, and a sad face and the words "Drink more" on the darker shades
  • For coughs, try honey and cough medicines.
  • For sore throats, try medicated lozenges and pain relief.
  • Soothe eye infections with a clean warm or cold damp flannel.
  • For an outer ear infection, apply local heat (such as a warm flannel).

How long could my infection last?

  • Cough: 21 days
  • Sore throat or earache: 7 to 8 days
  • Common cold: 14 days
  • Norovirus (winter vomiting): 2 to 3 days
  • Sinus infection: 14 to 21 days

Contact your GP if your symptoms are getting worse or if you are not better by the times above.

Will my infection need antibiotics to get better?

  • Your body can normally fight off common infections on its own.
  • You do not usually need antibiotics, unless symptoms of a bacterial infection (such as a urine infection) are severe – a healthcare professional can advise you on this.
  • Taking antibiotics when you do not need to puts you and your family at risk.
  • Follow your healthcare professional’s advice on antibiotics.

Find out more about antibiotics at the Antibiotic Guardian website.

How can I stop my infection from spreading?

If you need to cough or sneeze:

  • Catch it with a tissue (or your inner elbow)
  • Bin it
  • Kill it - clean your hands

Clean hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or hand sanitiser:

  • before preparing and eating food
  • after using the toilet
  • after touching pets or animals
  • when leaving and arriving home

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands. If possible, keep your distance from others (2 meters or 6 feet), especially vulnerable people in your household.

Do not share items that come into contact with your mouth, such as eating utensils and toothbrushes.

Keep yourself and your family up to date with vaccinations. Always get winter vaccines (such as flu) if you are eligible.

What symptoms of serious illness should I look out for?

  • Severe headache and vomiting
  • Ongoing fever or chills (temperature above 38ºC or less than 36ºC)
  • Problems swallowing; Turning blue around the mouth
  • Coughing blood
  • Breathing faster or slower than usual
  • Chest pain or tightness; New very fast or slow pulse
  • Kidney pain in your back just under your ribs
  • Visible blood in urine; Severe pain on passing urine, or passing more urine at night; Cloudy urine not improving in 1 to 2 days with fluids

If you have the symptoms above, contact your GP urgently or use the following services for your region.

These services can provide a confidential interpreter if you need one.

What if I suspect signs of sepsis?

  • Slurred speech, confusion or drowsiness
  • Extreme shivering
  • Passing no urine in a day
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you’re going to die, and
  • Skin blotchy or discoloured.

Call 999 immediately if you or others have signs of sepsis.

About this leaflet

TARGET is operated by the UK Health Security Agency. Developed in collaboration with professional medical bodies.

Version: 1.1
Published: November 2020
Revision: November 2023

UTI Leaflet - Women Under 65 Years

The Treating Your Infection Urinary Tract Infection (TYI-UTI) patient information leaflet has been designed to be used with women under 65 years who are experiencing urinary symptoms suggesting uncomplicated UTIs. This leaflet supports implementation of recommendations in the NICE guidelines on processes for antimicrobial stewardship and behaviour change for antimicrobial stewardship.

TYI-UTI leaflet for women under 65 years leaflet (Welsh)

TYI-UTI leaflet for women under 65 years leaflet translations

The following translations do not include information about COVID-19, please discuss concerns with your patient as part of the consultation.

For any leaflet queries please contact us: TARGETantibiotics@phe.gov.uk

UTI Leaflet - Women Under 65 HTML

Target: Keep antibiotics working logo with four pills making a target sign

For women under 65 years with suspected lower urinary tract infections (UTIs) or lower recurrent UTIs (cystitis or urethritis)

Contents

What is a urine infection?

A urine infection occurs when bacteria in any part of the urine system cause symptoms.

If a urine test finds bacteria but you are otherwise well, do not worry, this is common, and antibiotics are not usually needed. However, severe urine infections can be life threatening.

Diagram of kidneys, bladder and urethra, with kidneys labelled a, bladder labelled b, and urethra labelled c

a. Kidneys make urine

b. Bladder stores urine

c. Urethra takes urine out of the body

Possible urinary signs and symptoms

Key signs/symptoms

  • Dysuria: Burning pain when passing urine (wee)
  • New nocturia: Needing to pass urine in the night
  • Cloudy urine: Visible cloudy colour when passing urine

Other signs/symptoms to consider

  • Frequency: Passing urine more often than usual
  • Urgency: Feeling the need to pass urine immediately
  • Haematuria: Blood in your urine
  • Suprapubic pain: Pain in your lower tummy

Other things to consider

Recent sexual history

  • Inflammation due to sexual activity can feel similar to the symptoms of a UTI
  • Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can have symptoms similar to those of a UTI

Changes during menopause

  • Some changes during the menopause can have symptoms similar to those of a UTI

The outcome

Non-pregnant women
Pregnant women

COVID-19 specific advice

If you think you may have COVID-19 then please visit GOV.UK's coronavirus section and the NHS for the latest guidance and information.

Speak to NHS111, a pharmacist or your GP if you are worried about COVID-19.

When should you get help?

Contact your GP practice or contact NHS

Phone for advice if you are not sure how urgent the symptoms are.

  1. You have shivering, chills and muscle pain
  2. You feel confused, or are very drowsy
  3. You have not passed urine all day
  4. You are vomiting
  5. You see blood in your urine
  6. Your temperature is above 38°C* or less than 36°C
  7. You have kidney pain in your back just under the ribs
  8. Your symptoms get worse
  9. Your symptoms are not starting to improve within 48 hours of taking antibiotics

Self-care to help yourself get better more quickly

  • Drink enough fluids to stop you feeling thirsty. Aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses
  • Avoid too much alcohol, fizzy drinks or caffeine that can irritate your bladder
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen at regular intervals for pain relief, if you have had no previous side effects
  • There is currently no evidence to support taking cranberry products or cystitis sachets to improve your symptoms
  • Consider the risk factors in the ‘Options to help prevent UTI’ column to reduce future UTIs

Options to help prevent a UTI

It may help you to consider these risk factors:

  • Stop bacteria spreading from your bowel into your bladder. Wipe from front (vagina) to back (bottom) after using the toilet
  • Avoid waiting to pass urine. Pass urine as soon as you need to
  • Go for a wee after having sex to flush out any bacteria that may be near the opening to the urethra
  • Wash the external vagina area with water before and after sex to wash away any bacteria that may be near the opening to the urethra
  • Drink enough fluids to make sure you wee regularly throughout the day, especially during hot weather

If you have a recurrent UTI, the following may help:

  • Cranberry products and D-mannose: There is some evidence to say that these work to help prevent recurrent UTI
  • After the menopause: Topical hormonal treatment may help; for example, vaginal pessaries
  • Antibiotics at night or after sex may be considered

Antibiotic resistance

  1. Antibiotics can be lifesaving. But antibiotics are not always needed for urinary symptoms
  2. Antibiotics taken by mouth, for any reason, affect our gut bacteria making some resistant
  3. This may make future UTI more difficult to treat
  4. Common side effects to taking antibiotics include thrush, rashes, vomiting and diarrhoea. Seek medical advice if you are worried
  5. Keep antibiotics working; only take them when advised by a health professional. This way they are more likely to work for a future UTI

About this leaflet

TARGET is operated by the UK Health Security Agency. Developed in collaboration with professional medical bodies. 

Version: 23.5
Published: October 2017
Review: October 2021

UTI Leaflet - Older Adults

The Treating Your Infection Urinary Tract Infection (TYI-UTI) leaflet for older adults can be used either to provide information on UTIs to those at risk or care staff may wish to share this leaflet with older adults in their care and/or their relatives. The leaflet may also be used during primary care consultations to facilitate dialogue between a patient and their healthcare professional on specific topics like treatment or safety netting. We would recommend that the leaflet is used as a tool to interact with patients, rather than as a ‘parting gift’.

TYI-UTI for older adults leaflet (Welsh)

TYI-UTI for older adults leaflet translations

The following translations do not include information about COVID-19, please discuss concerns with your patient as part of the consultation.

For any leaflet queries please contact us: TARGETantibiotics@phe.gov.uk

UTI Leaflet - Older Adults HTML

Target: Keep antibiotics working logo with four pills making a target sign

A leaflet for older adults and carers

Contents

What is a urine infection?

A urine infection occurs when bacteria in any part of the urine system cause symptoms.

If a urine test finds bacteria but you are otherwise well, do not worry, this is common, and antibiotics are not usually needed. However, severe urine infections can be life threatening.

Diagram of kidneys, bladder and urethra, with kidneys labelled a, bladder labelled b, and urethra labelled c

a. Kidneys make urine

b. Bladder stores urine

c. Urethra takes urine out of the body

What can you do to help prevent a urine infection?

Are you drinking enough? Look at the colour of your urine.

Colour strip showing shades pale white-yellow through to amber. There is a smiley face on the pale-white yellow, a neutral face in the middle, and a sad face and the words Drink more on the darker shades

  • Drink enough fluid (6-8 glasses) so that you pass pale coloured urine regularly during the day, and to avoid feeling thirsty, especially during hot weather
  • Avoid drinking too many fizzy drinks or alcohol
  • There is no proven benefit of cranberry products or cystitis sachets
  • Prevent constipation; ask for advice if needed
  • Maintain good control of diabetes

Stop bacteria spreading from your bowel into your bladder

  • Wipe genitals from front to back after using the toilet
  • Change pads and clean genitals if soiled
  • Keep the genital area clean and dry; avoid scented soaps
  • Wash genital area with water before and after sex

Speak to your pharmacist about referral to a GP or other treatments.

What signs and symptoms should you look out for?

Consider these symptoms if you have a urinary catheter

  • Shivering or shaking
  • High or low temperature
  • Kidney pain in your back just under the ribs

New or worsening signs of urine infection in all people

  • Pain or burning when passing urine
  • High or low temperature (also a sign of COVID-19 – see below)
  • Shivering or shaking
  • Urgency (feeling the need to urinate immediately)
  • Pain in your lower tummy above pubic area
  • Incontinence (wetting yourself more often than usual)
  • Passing urine more often than usual
  • Cloudy urine, or visible blood in your urine
  • Confusion, change in behaviour, or unsteadiness on feet

Consider other things that may also cause confusion

  • Pain
  • Constipation
  • Poor sleep
  • Low mood
  • Not drinking enough
  • Side effects of medicine
  • Other infection
  • Change in your routine or home environment
  • Poor diet

COVID-19 specific advice

If you think you may have COVID-19 then please visit GOV.UK's coronavirus section and the NHS for the latest guidance and information.

Speak to NHS111, a pharmacist or your GP if you are worried about COVID-19.

When should you get help?

The following symptoms are possible signs of serious infection and should be assessed urgently. Contact your GP Practice or contact NHS 111 (England), NHS 24 (Scotland dial 111), NHS direct (Wales dial 0845 4647), or GP practice (NI).

  • Shivering, chills and muscle pain
  • Not passing urine all day
  • Trouble breathing
  • Visible blood in your urine
  • Feeling very confused, drowsy or slurred speech
  • Temperature is above 38ºC* or less than 36ºC
  • Kidney pain in your back just under the ribs
  • Very cold skin

Symptoms are getting a lot worse, or not starting to improve within 2 days of starting antibiotics.

Trust your instincts, ask for advice if you are not sure how urgent the symptoms are.

What can you do to help feel better?

  • Drink enough fluid so that you pass urine regularly during the day, especially during hot weather
  • Take paracetamol regularly, up to 4 times daily to relieve fever and pain
  • There is no proven benefit of cranberry products or cystitis sachets
  • If you’re worried about wetting yourself, see your doctor or nurse for advice
  • Ask for advice from your pharmacist/carer
  • Drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty and to keep your urine pale

What might your pharmacist / nurse / doctor do?

  • If your symptoms are likely to get better on their own you may receive self-care advice and pain relief
  • Ask you to drink more fluids
  • Ask you for a urine sample
  • You may be given an antibiotic that you can use if your symptoms don’t improve or you start to feel worse

Advice about antibiotics

  • Antibiotics can be life saving for serious urine infections, but antibiotics are not always needed for all urinary symptoms
  • Antibiotics may make the bacteria in your bowel resistant to antibiotics making UTIs difficult to treat in the future
  • Common side effects of taking antibiotics include thrush, rashes, vomiting and diarrhoea; ask for advice if you are worried
  • Keep antibiotics working, only take them when your healthcare professional advises them

About this leaflet

TARGET is operated by the UK Health Security Agency. Developed in collaboration with professional medical bodies. 

Version: 2.4
Published: October 2018
Review date: June 2021.

UTI Leaflet - Combined For Adults

This leaflet contains information from our Treating Your Infection Urinary Tract Infection (TYI-UTI) leaflet for women under 65 years and UTI leaflet for older adults in an easily accessible booklet style format with icons and images. This leaflet has been designed for use in the primary care setting, including general practice, community pharmacy and for use by carers and in care homes. It is suitable for consultations to facilitate dialogue between a patient or their carer and their healthcare professional on specific topics related to managing their UTI.

For a fully referenced version of the leaflet, please email: TARGETAntibiotics@phe.gov.uk.

UTI leaflet combined for adults (Welsh)

UTI leaflet combined for adults translations

The following translations do not include information about COVID-19, please discuss concerns with your patient as part of the consultation.

For any leaflet queries please contact us: TARGETantibiotics@phe.gov.uk

UTI Leaflet - Combined For Adults HTML

Target: Keep antibiotics working logo with four pills making a target sign

A leaflet for adults with suspected UTI 

Contents

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria in any part of the urine system cause symptoms.

Diagnosis is made mainly on your symptoms. Urine dipsticks are only used in women under 65 without catheters.

Diagram of kidneys, bladder and urethra, with kidneys labelled a, bladder labelled b and urethra labelled c

a. Kidneys make urine

b. Bladder stores urine

c. Urethra takes urine out of the body

What can you do to help prevent a urine infection?

Are you drinking enough? Look at the colour of your urine.

Colour strip showing shades pale white-yellow through to amber. There is a smiley face on the pale-white yellow, a neutral face in the middle, and a sad face and the words "Drink more" on the darker shades

Drink enough fluid (6-8 glasses) so that you pass urine regularly during the day, and to avoid feeling thirsty, especially during hot weather.

Your bladder can be irritated by too much alcohol, fizzy drinks or caffeine.

Prevent constipation; ask for advice if needed.

If diabetic, maintain good control of blood sugar levels. 

Stop bacteria spreading from your bowel into your bladder

  • Keep the genital area clean and dry; avoid scented soaps
  • Change incontinence pads often, and clean genital area if soiled
  • Pass urine after having sex
  • Women should wash the external vaginal area with water before and after sex, and wipe genitals from front to back after using the toilet

If you have recurrent UTIs

D-mannose or cranberry dietary supplements may help younger women.

Speak to your pharmacist or GP for advice on how to prevent UTIs

What symptoms should you look out for?

Signs and symptoms in all adults
Other causes of urinary symptoms
Symptoms of a UTI in older, frail adults
Other things that may cause confusion in older adults

COVID-19 specific advice

If you think you may have COVID-19 then please visit GOV.UK's coronavirus section and the NHS for the latest guidance and information.

Speak to NHS111, a pharmacist or your GP if you are worried about COVID-19.

When should you seek more urgent help?

You should consult a health professional if you have UTI symptoms and:

  • Your symptoms are getting a lot worse, or not starting to improve within 2 days of starting antibiotics
  • You are pregnant, male or post operation

The following symptoms are possible signs of serious infection and should be assessed urgently.

  • Shivering, chills and muscle pain
  • Not passing urine all day
  • Trouble breathing
  • Visible blood in your urine
  • Feeling very confused, drowsy or slurred speech
  • Temperature is above 38ºC* or less than 36ºC
  • Kidney pain in your back just under the ribs
  • Very cold skin

Contact for help

Contact your GP practice, or:

Trust your instincts, ask for advice if you are not sure how urgent the symptoms are.

What can be done to make you feel better?

What can you do?

  • Drink enough fluid so that you pass urine regularly during the day, especially during hot weather
  • Take paracetamol regularly, up to 4 times daily to relieve pain
  • There is currently no evidence to support taking cranberry products or cystitis sachets to treat UTIs

What might your pharmacist / nurse / doctor do?

  • Give self-care advice and advise pain relief (paracetamol or Ibuprofen)
  • Ask you for a urine sample to test
  • You may be given an antibiotic immediately, or to use if your symptoms don’t improve or you start to feel worse
  • You may be referred to another healthcare provider

If you have recurrent UTIs and self-care options do not help

  • Antibiotics at night or after sex may be prescribed
  • Vaginal hormone treatments may help some post menopausal women

Advice about antibiotics

  • Antibiotics can be life saving for serious urine infections, but antibiotics are not always needed for all urinary symptoms
  • Antibiotics may make the bacteria in your bowel resistant to antibiotics making UTIs difficult to treat in the future
  • Common side effects of taking antibiotics include thrush, rashes, vomiting and diarrhoea; ask for advice if you are worried
  • Keep antibiotics working, only take them when your healthcare professional advises them
Taking antibiotics when you don't need them puts you and your family at risk.

About this leaflet

TARGET is operated by the UK Health Security Agency. Developed in collaboration with professional medical bodies.

Version: 1.1
Published: March 2021
Revision: March 2023

RTI Leaflet

The Treating Your Infection Respiratory Tract Infection (TYI-RTI) patient information leaflet has been designed to be used with patients who are experiencing self limiting RTIs. This leaflet supports implementation of recommendations in the NICE guidelines on processes for antimicrobial stewardship, behaviour change for antimicrobial stewardship and antibiotic prescribing for respiratory tract infections.

TYI-RTI leaflet (Welsh)

TYI-RTI leaflet translations

The following translations do not include information about COVID-19, please discuss concerns with your patient as part of the consultation.

For any leaflet queries please contact us: TARGETantibiotics@phe.gov.uk

RTI Leaflet – HTML

Target: Keep antibiotics working logo with four pills making a target sign

A leaflet for treating respiratory tract infections

Contents

Your infection

Middle-ear infection

Most are better by 8 days.

Sore throat

Most are better by 7-8 days.

Sinusitis

Most are better by 14-21 days.

Common cold

Most are better by 14 days.

Cough or bronchitis

Most are better by 21 days (a cough caused by COVID-19 may differ).

How to look after yourself and your family

  • Have plenty of rest.
  • Drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty.
  • Ask your local pharmacist to recommend medicines to help your symptoms or pain (or both).
  • Fever is a sign the body is fighting the infection and usually gets better by itself in most cases. You can use paracetamol if you or your child are feeling uncomfortable as a result of a fever.
  • Use a tissue and wash your hands with soap to help prevent spread of your infection to your family, friends and others you meet.

When to get help

Serious signs and symptoms

If you or your child has any of these symptoms, are getting worse or are sicker than you would expect (even if your/their temperature falls), trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111 or your GP. If a child under the age of 5 has any of symptoms 1–3 go to A&E immediately or call 999.

  1. If your skin is very cold or has a strange colour, or you develop an unusual rash.
  2. If you have new feelings of confusion or drowsiness, or have slurred speech.
  3. If you have difficulty breathing. Signs that suggest breathing problems can be:
    1. breathing quickly
    2. turning blue around the lips and the skin below the mouth
    3. skin between or above the ribs getting sucked or pulled in with every breath.
  4. If you develop a severe headache and are sick.
  5. If you develop chest pain.
  6. If you have difficulty swallowing or are drooling.
  7. If you cough up blood.
  8. If you are passing little to no urine.
  9. If you are feeling a lot worse.

Less serious signs that can usually wait until the next available appointment

  1. If you are not starting to improve a little by the time given in ‘Your infection’, above 
  2. Children with middle-ear infection: if fluid is coming out of their ears or they have new deafness
  3. Mild side effects such as diarrhea: seek medical attention if you are concerned. 

COVID-19 specific advice

If you think you may have COVID-19 then please visit GOV.UK's coronavirus section and the NHS for the latest guidance and information.

Speak to NHS111, a pharmacist or your GP if you are worried about COVID-19.

Advice about antibiotics

  • Colds, most coughs, sinusitis, ear infections, sore throats, and other infections often get better without antibiotics, as your body can usually fight these infections on its own.
  • Taking any antibiotics makes bacteria that live inside your body more resistant. This means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
  • Antibiotics can cause side effects such as rashes, thrush, stomach pains, diarrhoea, reactions to sunlight, other symptoms, or being sick if you drink alcohol with metronidazole.
  • Find out more about how you can make better use of antibiotics and help keep this vital treatment effective by visiting the NHS antibiotics webpages.

Never share antibiotics and always return any unused antibiotics to a pharmacy for safe disposal.

About this leaflet

TARGET is operated by the UK Health Security Agency. Developed in collaboration with professional medical bodies. 

Version: 9.7
Published: November 2017
Review: November 2021

RTI Pictorial Leaflet

The leaflet can be used to provide information on RTIs. It is pictorial and uses plain English so that it is suitable for a range of community groups. The leaflet may also be used during primary care consultations to facilitate dialogue between a patient and their healthcare professional on specific topics like treatment or safety netting. We would recommend that the leaflet is used as a tool to interact with patients, rather than as a ‘parting gift’.

TYI-RTI pictorial leaflet (Welsh)

TYI-RTI pictorial leaflet translations

The following translations do not include information about COVID-19, please discuss concerns with your patient as part of the consultation.

For any leaflet queries please contact us: TARGETantibiotics@phe.gov.uk

RTI Pictorial Leaflet - HTML

Target: Keep antibiotics working logo with four pills making a target sign

A step-by step guide on how to manage your infection

Contents

  1. Help yourself to feel better
  2. Check how long your symptoms last
  3. Consider if you have COVID-19
  4. Look out for serious symptoms
  5. Where to get help

1. Help yourself to feel better

Whatever your infection, you can do the following to help.

Two white circular paracetamol tables

Take paracetamol to help pain; always follow the instructions 

A woman in consultation with a pharmacist at a pharmacy

Ask your pharmacist for advice on reducing your symptoms

A man asleep on a bed

Get plenty of rest until you feel better

A woman drinking from a bottle of water

Drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty 

A woman using a tissue to blow her nose

Use tissues when you sneeze to help stop infections spreading

A pair of hands being washed next to a running tap in a sink

Wash your hands regularly and after using tissues to sneeze

For more information, visit the NHS website.

Most common infections get better without antibiotics. Find out how you can make better use of antibiotics by visiting the Managing Your Common Infection self-care leaflet.


2. Check how long your symptoms last


Earache

A woman holding her hand to her ear and frowning in pain

Most get better by 8 days.

Sore throat

A man holding a hand to his throat

Most get better by 7-8 days.

Cold

A woman holding a tissue to her nose

Most get better by 14 days.

Cough

A man holding a fist to his mouth as he coughs

Most get better by 21 days (may differ for a COVID-19 cough).

If you are not starting to improve a little by the times given above, seek advice from your GP practice.

If you are feeling a lot worse, phone NHS 111, NHS Direct Wales or NHS 24 (see step 6).

3. Consider if you have COVID-19

COVID-19 specific advice

If you think you may have COVID-19 then please visit GOV.UK's coronavirus section and the NHS for the latest guidance and information.

Speak to NHS111, a pharmacist or your GP if you are worried about COVID-19.


4. Look out for serious symptoms


Severe headache

A man holding his hand to his head with a pained expression

Trouble breathing

A man clutching his chest and leaning on a wall with his other hand

Chest pain

A man holding a hand to his chest

Coughing blood

A woman coughing blood into a tissue

Very cold skin

A person's arm with upright hairs and goosebumps

Feeling confused

A woman with a confused expression on her face

Problems swallowing

A woman holding a hand to her neck

Feeling a lot worse

A man holding his hands up to his mouth as he coughs

If you have COVID-19 and start to feel worse, including showing the signs above, seek immediate medical help from NHS 111 (call 111 or visit NHS 111 online).


5. Where to get help

NHS England - call 111 when it's less urgent than 999 NHS Direct Wales. Galw IECHYD Cymru. 0845 46 47 NHS Scotland. NHS 24. Call 111 Northern Ireland. Contact your GP practice. HSC. Public Health Agency


About this leaflet

TARGET is operated by the UK Health Security Agency. Developed in collaboration with professional medical bodies. 

Version: 3.3
Published: October 2018
Review: November 2020

Pharmacy Antibiotic Checklist

The antibiotic checklist is for community pharmacy staff to use with patients or carers collecting antibiotics. The checklist has been designed to follow the antibiotic prescription journey, to be completed by patients and pharmacists, to facilitate individualised advice to the patient.

Pharmacy Antibiotic Checklist translations

Community pharmacy counselling checklist

This Antibiotic Counselling sheet is a supporting tool to the Antibiotic Checklist, which can help inform the information provided to patients, including how to take antibiotics, their common side effects, and interactions. This was a collaboration between the Public Health England (now the UK Health Security Agency) TARGET Antibiotics toolkit and Public Health Wales and is suitable to be used by healthcare professionals across England and Wales. This counselling sheet underwent consultation with the All-Wales Antimicrobial Guidance Group (AWAGG).

For more information on How Community Pharmacies Can Keep Antibiotics Working, visit Health Education England’s AMR Hub and complete the e-module on Antimicrobial Stewardship for Community Pharmacy.

For any queries in the content of the leaflet please contact us: TARGETantibiotics@phe.gov.uk

Other useful leaflets (not developed by TARGET)

When should I worry?

Booklet for parents and carers (click on the image to download the booklet). For other languages please visit the When Should I Worry website.

The 'When Should I Worry?' booklet provides information for parents about the management of respiratory tract infections such as coughs, colds, sore throats and ear aches in children. It is designed to be shared in consultations.

Caring for children with coughs leaflet

This leaflet was co-created by a diverse group of parents and University of Bristol researchers. It contains information addressing the four most common parental concerns for children with RTI with cough and safety-netting advice based on NICE guidelines. The leaflet was created under a creative commons licence (attribution) which means they can be used, reproduced and distributed by anyone as long as they are clearly attributed in any report or publication and cited as: Cabral, C. Ingram, J. Redmond, N. Horwood, J. Blair, P. Hollinghurst, S. Hay, A. Lucas P. 2016, ‘Caring for children with coughs: Information and advice for parents’. University of Bristol, Bristol. Foreign language translation of this leaflet are available from the University of Bristol website.

Get well soon without antibiotics leaflet

This leaflet, produced by the Department of Health, explains the need to get the right treatment for common illnesses such as colds and coughs without encouraging antibiotic resistance. It is available in different languages and is suitable for distribution in waiting areas.

Antibiotics Don’t Cure Toothache

Part of the dental antimicrobial stewardship toolkit for primary care, this leaflet highlights why antibiotics don't cure toothache and provides safety netting advice.

Self-care forum fact sheets

The Self-Care Forum is dedicated to helping people take care of themselves and as such, have created a series of self-care fact sheets for common ailments which aim to help clinicians and patients discuss issues around self-care during consultation and especially how to handle the symptoms in the future.