Antibiotics are a phenomenal tool when used properly. The bottom line, however, is that they are ONLY effective against certain infections caused by bacteria. These include, but are not limited to:
- Strep throat
- Some sinus infections
- Some ear infections
- Whooping cough
- Urinary Tract Infections
Antibiotics do not and will not eliminate sicknesses caused by viruses such as the common cold, the flu, or most sore throats – no matter how bad you may feel. Over-the-counter medications and, most importantly, time are the keys to relieving symptoms and healing from viral infection.
Smart and appropriate antibiotic usage are so important because overuse can lead to antibiotic resistance, which in turn can facilitate the spread of super-illnesses.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria evolve and evade the antibiotics used to kill them.
When you take an antibiotic for what turns out to be a viral infection, the antibiotic, which is useless against the virus, can attack the helpful bacteria in your body instead, forcing them to adapt. This can result in antibiotic-resistant qualities in harmless bacteria, that can then be shared with other bacteria.
According to the CDC, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year. These illnesses are incredibly difficult to treat and can result in extended hospital stays and worse.
Not only that, but the potential side effects of antibiotics could still cause harm to some people. While the benefits of antibiotics – when needed – vastly outweigh the risks, common side effects can range from minor to severe and include rash, nausea, diarrhea, yeast infections, and more.
Here are four tips to prevent antibiotic resistance and remain healthy:
- Talk to your doctor – they will determine whether an antibiotic is the best course of action.
- Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed.
- Do not share antibiotics with others.
- Never take antibiotics prescribed to someone else.
- Dispose of unused medication promptly.
Staying healthy, in general, also helps to prevent antibiotic resistance. For that reason, make sure to keep the following health tips in mind:
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Cover your mouth and nose to prevent spreading germs through coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Get a flu shot and other recommended vaccines.
Quality First Urgent Care takes antibiotic resistance seriously. If you are feeling ill, contact our team and schedule an appointment to see one of our doctors. We can pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and suggest the best course of action for quick healing. When necessary, our doctors can prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections and have them sent directly to your pharmacy.
Questions? Contact us today to learn more.