CDC reports, “Taking Antibiotics for Viral Infections Can Do More harm than Good”
Did anybody realize that popping in antibiotics when you or your little one is suffering from viral infections can cause more harm than good? As per the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, where children are concerned, antibiotics prove to be the most usual cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug events. This has been one of the most common messages the CDC has been releasing out this week worldwide in an attempt to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance and how indecorous use of these bacteria fighting drugs is add fuel to the already existing problem.
The Right Approach
Adequate rest, intake of fluids and over the counter medications are the most favourable options for treating a virus according to CDC.
Most of the infections in the upper respiratory tract, common cold, ear infections etc. are not caused by bacteria but by viruses. Antibiotics do work only against viruses and not against bacteria. Even though CDC is doing its best to lower the number of children receiving needless antibiotics over the last few years but it has been widely observed that most of them are given too many antibiotics for trivial reasons like common cold and other viral infections.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics not only cause increased resistance but it also shoots up the cost burden on the health system since resistant infections are harder, take longer durations and are way more expensive to treat.
Antibiotics are the key tools we have in our hands to fight life threatening bacterial infections and still resistance to these drugs is also one of the worlds most critical public health threats the CDC.
The agency is requesting people worldwide especially Americans to get smart and minimize the use of antibiotics in order to treat the common viral infections.
For e.g. sore throat, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections are caused by viruses and it cannot be cured by taking antibiotics. Alternatively, this is what is more likely to happen:
- Infection will not get cured
- People around you can get sick
- You or you kid may not feel better
- There are high chances that the one taking it will experience unwanted side effects in the process
Doctors and Pharmacists Have a Reponsibility
The CDC has urged people not to coerce the doctor to prescribe antibiotics when the doctor himself says there is no requirement for the same. Doctors and pharmacists must educate the patients when they seem to insist on getting an antibiotic prescription.
One should also bear in mind not to use antibiotics that have been prescribed for someone else. Taking the medications that are prescribed for someone else cannot be right for the illness that you are suffering from; also taking the wrong medication can delay appropriate treatment, thereby allowing the bacteria to multiply.
The problem does not end with the inappropriate and the unwanted use of the antibiotics. A majority of the problem linked to antibiotic resistance can even occur when patients who have been prescribed to take them, take it in the appropriate manner by completing the course as advised by the doctor. It is also important that one does not skip doses and antibiotic course should not be left halfway or saved for the next time.
If you or your offspring is suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection, you should:
- Consult your doctor about over the counter medications that give relief
- Increase water and fluid intake
- Get adequate rest
- Try to relieve congestion by using saline nasal spray or a cool mist vaporizer
- Soothe a sore throat by using chips of ice, throat spray or lozenges but it is not advisable to give lozenges to small kids and should be avoided at all times