PATIENTS in Tendring are being urged to think twice before demanding antibiotics from GPs.

Prescriptions across north east Essex are up 30 per cent on last year, but the more people take the drugs, the less effective they become.

NHS spokesman Paul Breame said: “Widespread use of antibiotics for many years has already resulted in many of them being ineffective against a variety of bacteria.

“There are even bacteria which are now resistant to event the strongest antibiotics.

He added: “We know from the feedback we receive from GPs that many people expect – often demand – antibiotics prescribed to them if they have a cold, cough, flu or earache.

“However, the facts are that antibiotics will not help with most of these infections as the majority are caused by viruses.”