Antibiotics – The Fight Against Resistance
Ever been to your doctor with a common cold and wondered why they were so reluctant to give you antibiotics?
In this instance, your doctor has assessed your illness and made a decision based on clinical experience and scientific evidence that antibiotics are more likely to do you harm than good.
Why Doctors Can Be Reluctant to Prescribe Antibiotics
Most common colds, coughs and sore throats are caused by viruses. Antibiotics have absolutely no effect on viruses. Every course of antibiotics exposes you to potentially harmful side effects, so why take this risk if they are unlikely to make you better? Every course of antibiotics kills the ‘commensal’ (good) bacteria that live in and on your body which play an important role in keeping you healthy including your immune system. Consider also the money wasted in taking an unnecessary medication.
Perhaps the most important reason though, is that the overuse of antibiotics has lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Why is this important? Antibiotics play a vital role in treating bacterial infections that we all suffer such as sinusitis, pneumonia, wound infections, bladder infections and many others. If this trend of antibiotic resistance continues, treating simple bacterial infections that we currently take for granted may no longer be possible and some may even become life threatening again! Routine surgery may no longer be possible because the risk of acquiring an untreatable bacterial infection becomes too high.
Why We Should All Join the Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance
This is not only important for the community but also for you as an individual. Studies now show that the more antibiotics you personally consume the more resistant bacteria you carry as an individual.
How You Can Help
So what can you do? Only see a GP who takes the time to thoroughly assess and explain your illness and determine whether antibiotics are really required. Follow the instructions on how and for what duration your antibiotics should be taken. If you don’t require antibiotics ask your doctor how you can ease the unpleasant symptoms of your illness until your immune system takes care of the rest. If you need advice on whether your illness requires antibiotics please see you GP.