Archbold Encourages Wise Use of Antibiotics
Some wish there were pills to cure every ailment. Sadly, we know there aren't.
But it can be hard to come to terms with the limits of medication when we're sick with a cold, the flu or another upper respiratory problem. Coping with nasty viruses like these can tempt anyone to seek relief, often in the form of an antibiotic.
Although antibiotics can work wonders against bacterial infections--such as strep throat--they're powerless against viruses. In fact, they can do more harm than good if taken for a viral infection.
“People who take antibiotics when they're not needed may be contributing to a serious problem known as antibiotic resistance,” said Maura Hall, PharmD, Assistant Director of Pharmacy Services at Archbold Memorial Hospital.
Hall explained that when you take an antibiotic, bacteria sensitive to that medicine are killed. But certain bacteria, through mutation or other means, may change so that they're no longer affected by the drug. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria can then multiply, causing infections that are harder to treat.
“Overuse of antibiotics promotes the spread of antibiotic resistance,” said Hall.
But you can help reverse that trend—by not asking your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic if he or she says it's not needed.
And, if an antibiotic is prescribed, be sure to take the full course of the drug, even if you start to feel better before you've finished.
Archbold is joining The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in observing World Antibiotics Week November 13-19. This annual one-week observance is intended to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use.
“With cold and flu season upon us, we just want to remind our community that antibiotics should only be used to fight bacterial infections,” said Archbold assistant vice president of Pharmacy and Laboratory Chris Newman, PharmD. “When you use antibiotics appropriately, you are not only taking care of your health, but your family's health and the health of your community.”
Taking antibiotics for viral infections, such as colds, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus or ear infections:
- Will not cure the infection
- Will not keep other people from getting sick
- Will not help you or your child feel better
- May cause unnecessary and harmful side effects
- May contribute to antibiotic resistance, which is when bacteria are able to resist the effects of an antibiotic and continue to cause harm
How to feel better if you or your child has a viral infection:
- Ask your healthcare professional about over-the-counter treatment options that may help reduce symptoms.
- Drink more fluids.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion.
- Soothe your throat with crushed ice, sore throat spray, or lozenges. (Do not give lozenges to young children.)
- If you are diagnosed with the flu, there are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness. They are prescription drugs not antibiotics.
What Not to Do
- Do not demand antibiotics when your healthcare professional says they are not needed.
- Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection.
- Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.