Public Health England (PHE) has updated its guidance on Managing common infections: guidance for primary care.

As antimicrobial resistance becomes more prevalent, the need to ensure that antimicrobial medicines are prescribed responsibly is increasingly vital. A simple, empirical approach to the management of common infections is a good step to ensuring more uniform quality of care, particularly if that approach includes restrained or moderate use of antimicrobials and informed use of non-pharmacological strategy.

The updated PHE guidance aims to provide a basic outline of such an approach for local adaptation and consultation, composed of nine summary tables covering:

  • upper respiratory tract infections
  • lower respiratory tract infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • meningitis
  • gastrointestinal tract infections
  • genital tract infections
  • skin and soft tissue infections
  • eye infections
  • suspected dental infections in primary care (outside dental settings).

As well as revised prescribing guidance for antimicrobials, the September 2017 update also includes new infections on the list of those for which advice is available, including:

  • scarlet fever (group A strepococcus)
  • genital herpes
  • acne
  • erysipelas
  • mastitis
  • blepharitis.

While PHE discourages major changes to the guidance, the format allows for minor changes to suit local service delivery and sampling protocols.