No Antibiotics - Doesn't Mean You Are Not Sick
November is the month that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remind everyone to use antibiotics wisely. According to the federal agency, about 50 million prescriptions for antibiotics are written every year. Of those, the CDC estimates that 1 in 5 shouldn't have been issued in the first place. The discrepancy comes from medications prescribed for viral respiratory infections where no bacterial infection is present. Truth is, antibiotics do not help you fight infections caused by viruses and should only be prescribed when a bacterial infection has been correctly diagnosed.
Obviously, the patient doesn't write prescriptions and the medical profession is responsible for the problem. However, patients (especially parents of younger children) can make a difference by not expecting a prescription in the first place. Too many of us were raised at time that when you were sick, went to the doctor, and got a penicillin shot or bottle of purplish-pink medicine that lived in the refrigerator until it was gone. Now the industry knows that the more people who use antibiotics, the sooner bacteria figure out how to outsmart the medicines. This unfortunate side effect has led to a noticeable increase antibiotic resistant strains.
Although it is understandable that you want to err on the "safe side", infections caused by viruses like colds and flu as well as most sore throats and ear infections will get better without antibiotics. Unless there is a bacterial infection involved, antibiotics will not help you feel better or keep others from catching it. Contrary to popular belief, most colds do not lead to bacterial infections. So, don't be surprised if your doctor prescribes rest, fluids and even over-the-counter remedies for symptom relief without an Rx for antibiotics. If you don't get better within a reasonable time period or have other complications like pain or fever, you should always touch base with your doctor as he or she may prescribe additional lab work and/or medications.
From pediatric to geriatric, PrimeMED can provide you with the latest information on supporting good health and wellness for your entire family. To schedule an appointment with a primary care physician, call 904-269-0500. We are dedicated to providing affordable, accessible and comprehensive healthcare in Jacksonville and Orange Park.