The CDC has recently released a helpful guide for whether or not you should take antibiotics to help you feel better. This is important information in light of the urgent public health crisis of antibiotic resistance.
According to CDC.gov:
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result.
The more frequently antibiotics are used, the more antibiotic resistance spreads. Unfortunately, roughly 30% of antibiotics prescribed are prescribed unnecessarily.
It is a global priority to improve our use of antibiotics so that future generations can continue to benefit from the life-saving properties of antibiotics. At Physician 360, we believe in patients taking control of their own healthcare, and to do that, patients must educate themselves. With that being said, here’s a simple guide to which illnesses can be treated with antibiotics and which cannot.
Antibiotics are used to treat life-threatening bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, sepsis, strep throat, whooping cough, and UTIs. Illnesses that should NOT be treated with antibiotics include common cold/runny nose, sore throat (not strep), and flu. These illnesses are caused by viruses, and therefore will not be helped by antibiotics.
Illnesses that are sometimes bacterial and sometimes viral include sinus infections, middle ear infections, and bronchitis. In the case of a sinus infection or middle ear infection, ascertain whether or not the infection is bacterial before taking antibiotics. In the case of bronchitis, though it can be bacterial, antibiotics are proven not to help treat otherwise healthy individuals.
Taking antibiotics when they are not necessary can result in harmful side effects such as rash, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections. Some mild bacterial infections can even be treated without antibiotics.
Arm yourself with knowledge so that next time you or a loved one is sick, you can weigh the pros and cons of antibiotic use with your doctor, determining the best treatment plan for your situation. With Physician 360, you can do this without long waits and high co-pays at the doctor’s office. Use our online telemedicine kits!
To learn more about antibiotic resistance, read the CDC article on this topic and visit their Be Antibiotics Aware page.