The problem is more pronounced during flu season, so the CDC advises how to curb antibiotic overuse that might only make matters worse in the long. It’s common for patients to step into a doctor’s office with a runny nose or sore throat, and be prescribed powerful antibiotics. Even more, it’s often that patients actually demand them.
However, according to Dr. Wayne J. Riley from the Vanderbilt University, it’s in the responsibility of doctors to avoid over-prescription. That implies being both cautious to how often and why they prescribe powerful antibiotics, as well as withstanding the demands of the patient. There are numerous conditions during the flu season that can be resolved without them.
Antibiotic resistance causes 2 million illnesses per year
And, more importantly, acute respiratory infections and other conditions common during this time of the year will not be helped by antibiotics. Yet, they’re far too often prescribed. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2 million illnesses are caused each year by drug-resistant bacteria. Among them, they annually cause 23,000 deaths, a direct response to the over-prescription of antibiotics by doctors.
The powerful drugs are losing their effectiveness due to repeated exposure that makes germs more resistant. Another reason would be the potential side-effects that might occur. According to the CDC, 1 out of every 5 emergency room visits for bad drug reactions are caused by antibiotics. There are several of them who have unfortunate consequences, and may not fully destroy the bacteria due to its resistance.
Thus, doctors are advised to resort to more in-home remedies or at least over-the-counter prescriptions that would equally work. The problem is in both recommending them to the patients, and the patients themselves following with the plan. Most claim that they did not work after not taking the medication correctly. That forces additional testing and prescription of more powerful and unnecessary drugs.
During the flu season, these problems become unfortunately more pronounced. While pediatricians have taken heed of the advice, it appears that the crisis is still present among adults.
Over-the-counter drugs will work
Airway inflammations, such as bronchitis that causes coughing can be healed with cough suppressants and antihistamines or decongestants. Sore throats have pain-relieving drugs that could work, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and others. Sinus infections could be resolved with decongestants, nasal sprays, and pain medication. All of them are common amid the flu season and can be resolved without antibiotics.
The powerful drugs should be a last resort in case of complications or suspicions of more severe conditions, such as pneumonia or strep.
According to Dr. Riley, there is no guarantee that one method will work for everyone. However, it’s better to try over-the-counter medication and monitor the patient’s situation than over-prescribe antibiotics. It only fuels an already severe problem.
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