WHY use antibiotics smartly??
Antibiotics, like amoxicillin or Zithromax, do not fight viral illnesses such as colds or URIs (upper respiratory tract infections). In fact, taking antibiotics for colds can be harmful and make future infections harder to treat. Here are some facts on antibiotics we all need to be aware of to keep us healthy!
- Antibiotics are life saving — when used wisely to preserve their strength for future bacterial illnesses.
- Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections — Colds, the flu, coughs, URIs, some ear infections DO NOT get better with an antibiotic. Saline nose sprays with nose blowing, fever reducers or pain medications can help but not antibiotics.
- Most sore throats DO NOT need, or get better with an antibiotic — most sore throats are viruses, and not strep throat. Thus antibiotics do not help.
- Green colored mucus is NOT a sign that an antibiotic is needed — Sinus infections are not a cold or nasal stuffiness that has only been for 3-5 days, even if the mucus is green. Antibiotics do not help this — saline nose sprays and good nose blowing help much more.
- There are potential risks taking antibiotics — these medications can cause diarrhea, upset tummy and, rarely, a serious life threatening reaction. And, antibiotic use can cause bacteria to develop resistance (not work) to the antibiotic. These resistant bacteria multiply, can cause severe illnesses AND not respond to our current antibiotics.
Antibiotic Resistance — WHY the big deal?
Antibiotics kill bacteria, but not viruses, that can cause infection but bacteria can change and become resistant to antibiotics and thus not be killed but multiply and spread.
Every time a person takes an antibiotic, sensitive bacteria die but leave resistant bacteria to grow and multiply. This means infections caused in the future by these bacteria may not respond to antibiotics.
Almost every type of bacteria has become less responsive to antibiotic medication.
Use of antibiotics when not needed (such as for a cold, URI, cough, the flu, bronchitis, most sore throats—all usually viral infections) is one of the main causes of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance means that our body may not get better with the antibiotic when we really need it—this can lead to more serious infection and even death.