Sometimes it seems that every little thing you go to the doctors for results in an antibiotic prescription. For that reason, it might be easy to assume that antibiotics are the cure-all for just about any common ailment, and that you had better be safe than sorry and just take your antibiotic for good measure, every time it’s doctor-recommended. However, this way of thinking is dangerous. There are some times when you don’t need antibiotics, and taking antibiotics too often can cause your body to build up a tolerance so that it is eventually unresponsive to antibiotics. Therefore, it is important that you take antibiotics only when you really need them. So when do you need them, and when should you steer clear of them? Here are some helpful pointers:
Appropriate antibiotic usage
Antibiotics are effective in treating certain types of infection, and are not at all effective in treating other types. Infections that can be treated with antibiotics include bacterial infections like staph, bladder infections, sinusitis (or serious sinus infections that last two weeks or longer), strep throat, and some (but few) ear infections. Also treatable by antibiotics are fungal infections like mycosis, yeast infections, and athlete’s foot. It is important to keep in mind that many of these conditions will go away naturally, if you take the proper steps to care for them. Only in severe, long-lasting, and/or chronic cases should you take an antibiotic.
Inappropriate antibiotic usage
Viral infections will not get any better with antibiotics. Many of the common ailments you may suffer from are caused by viruses, so it is important that you identify your illness before taking an antibiotic. Viruses include the common cold, influenza, stomach flu, bronchitis, most ear infections, most coughs, and most sore throats.
Make sure you ask your doctor exactly what it is you are being given an antibiotic prescription for. If the doctor is unsure, then you may want to insist on further measures to diagnose the problem before dosing. Or, if you know that it is a cold or flu you have, you may want to just stay indoors and pamper yourself until you are better.
Misuse of antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance. When you get infected with something dangerous and your body is resistant to antibiotics, you are at risk for worsening illness, or even death. Is it worth it to take those antibiotics just to stay on the safe side? Truth is, not only is it not worth it, but it is not safe, either. Keep these facts in mind when deciding whether or not you need antibiotics.
About the Author: Valene Calverley knows how rough antibiotics can be on her digestive system and always insists on documentation and testing before she’ll take one, keeping her doctors on her toes. She knows what if she needs an antibiotics she’ll ultimately need a yeast infection treatment, too – a common problem for many women.