In a study of more than 180,000 people age 66 or older published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine, almost half (46%) of the people seen by their physicians for a cold, acute bronchitis, sinusitis, or laryngitis were given antibiotics even though none of these are caused by bacteria, which is the only thing antibiotics work on. The likelihood of an antibiotic prescription was greatest from physicians in the mid to latter part of their careers, those who received their medical education outside of the U.S. or Canada, and from those who saw more than 25 patients a day.
Article summary: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/317409.php
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Why is this important, you ask? Because inappropriate use of antibiotics has unintended consequences among them: increased health care cost, development of antibiotic resistance, and increased risk of drug induced complications among them allergic reactions and diarrhea the most serious of which is caused by Clostridium difficile - which can be fatal in some cases.
What can you do to avoid being prescribed antibiotics when you don’t need them? The CDC recommends the following actions:
- Don’t pressure your health care provider for antibiotics.
- Ask your health care provider about ways to treat your symptoms without
- Tell your health care provider you are concerned about using antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary to treat a bacterial infection.
- Practice good hand hygiene to prevent infection in the first place.
Remember - taking antibiotics for a viral infection:
Will NOT cure you
Will NOT prevent those around you from getting sick
Will NOT make you feel better
For more information see:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Antibiotics aren’t always the answer
Protecting yourself and your family
About antibiotic use and resistance
Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES is the principal of Associates for Health Education and Behavior, LLC, in Sparta, a practice focused on improving health through education. Her office offers individual and group health education, and individual health behavior change guidance. For more information please see www.associatesforhealth.com To contact Dr. Hayden, email her firstname.lastname@example.org
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