You have a sore throat, an ear ache and a fever. Instead of letting your symptoms get worse, you call the doctor. The doctor diagnoses you with a bacterial infection and prescribes an antibiotic. You've read the headlines and heard the stories about antibiotic resistance. Now you're not sure whether you should take the prescription or not.
Before you ditch the doctor's orders, take a look at the reasons why medical providers prescribe antibiotics and how they can help you.
Antibiotics will not help a viral infection. They aren't made to fight off viruses, such as the common cold, and won't make you well any quicker than rest and self-care will.
If you have the sniffles, a slight cough or a runny nose, and the doctor can't diagnose a bacterial infection, don't ask for a prescription. Chances are your doctor won't give it to you. Pressing the matter is going against medical advice (if your doctor has already said no) and isn't advisable.
Roughly 30% of antibiotics prescribed outside of in-patient hospital settings aren't medically necessary, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What does this mean? To start with, 30% of antibiotics are given for illnesses that don't respond to this type of medication.
This statistic what makes it so important to understand when an antibiotic will and won't work. However, it also means that the majority of antibiotics, 70%, are prescribed for a real reason. These reasons include a variety of bacterial infections in different body systems.
These meds tend to get a bad rap for being overused. And yes, they are overused. When an antibiotic is routinely given for a non-bacterial reason or is used too often, resistance can develop to those antibiotics. However, when an antibiotic is given for a bacterial infection, it can do the body good.
Some bacterial infections can quickly become life threatening. Without antibiotics the recovery rate from diseases that are now considered fairly minor wouldn't be as high as it is. Before antibiotics something as simple as strep throat could become fatal.
Antibiotics have changed the way that doctors treat diseases and have made it possible to almost eliminate some serious illnesses. Think about it — how many people get black plague? In the past few decades there have only been about seven human cases of plague each year, according to the CDC's statistics.
Before you start worrying about plague, it's comforting to know that antibiotics can completely cure people infected with the bacteria. Before antibiosis, the disease spread quickly and was often fatal. After the introduction of antibiotics, doctors were able to treat patients with plague effectively. Without antibiotics, plague and other serious bacterial infections would have much harsher effects than they do today.
If you're doubting the doctor's prescribing ability, you might need to think about switching providers. Your doctor has extensive training and experience evaluating, diagnosing and treating illnesses.
Second-guessing your doctor’s assessment and recommended course of treatment means one of two things — you need a new doctor because they are making mistakes or are providing substandard treatment or you need to trust the person with an M.D. over what your cousin's BFF read online about antibiotics.
Doctors are well-educated in prescribing antibiotics, and they understand the reasons why or why not they should treat with this type of medication. Ignoring your doctor's orders could put you in jeopardy, risking your health and your speedy recovery.
That said, medical practitioners do make mistakes. If you truly feel that your doctor is in the wrong or is prescribing an unnecessary medication, get a second opinion from another medical professional instead of simply ignoring your doctor’s orders.
Do you need a prescription for antibiotics? Trans Alliance Med & Drugs is here to help you at every step of your recovery.