We're above EU average for turning to antibiotics
IRISH people take more antibiotics than the EU average and women are higher users than men, according to a new European survey.
It found 43pc of Irish people have taken oral antibiotics in the past 12 months, compared to an EU average of 35pc.
Our usage has fallen by 2pc since the last survey in 2009, but the EU average fell by 5pc during the same time, the Eurobarometer study showed.
It comes in advance of Antibiotic Awareness Week aimed at urging people to use less of the drugs, which are often wrongly taken to treat viruses even though antibiotics have no effect on them.
The study showed Irish women are much more likely to turn to antibiotics than men – 51pc of women have taken antibiotics in the past 12 months, compared to just 35pc of men.
Around 16pc of us take antibiotics for bronchitis, compared to an EU average of 18pc; and we are at the European average of 20pc when it comes to reaching for the drugs when we have flu.
The findings revealed that "knowledge about antibiotics among Irish has increased since the last Eurobarometer survey in 2009".
"Knowledge and awareness is higher among women (27pc) than men (19pc). The best informed are the 55 years and older group, but it is lowest among 15-year-olds and those in their early to mid-20s.
"There is a lower awareness of antibiotics awareness campaigns in Ireland, at 64pc, compared to the EU average of 67pc."
More than half of Irish people would use a pharmacy as a source of trustworthy information on antibiotics, compared to an EU average of 47pc.
And 83pc of us agree that everyone has a role to play in ensuring that antibiotics remain effective, compared to 79pc at EU level.
A total of 1,001 people were interviewed in Ireland, and 26,680 were interviewed across the EU.