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Getting Smart About Antibiotics

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

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A push is on by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get doctors to prescribe less and the appropriate antibiotics to their patients. “Antibiotic overuse is a serious problem, it’s a threat to everyone’s health and it’s really important for everyone to know that,” says the medical director for the CDC’s “Get Smart” program, Dr. Laurie Hicks.

“As we enter this year’s cold and flu season, we just have to remember that most upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses and not bacteria,” she says. Dr. Hicks recommends patients talk with their healthcare provider about the best treatment for their illness if an antibiotic is not needed.

That’s a recommendation pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard seconds. “Everyone wants instant gratification and even if you get that antibiotic, studies show you don’t get that instant gratification, that actually you’re not better faster than just waiting.”

Overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which has many risks according to Dr. Hicks. “Misuse of antibiotics is actually jeopardizing the usefulness of these drugs. And each time you take an antibiotic, you’re more likely to carry resistant germs in your nose and throat. Common antibiotics can not kill these germs and that can lead to dangerous infections.”

Both Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Hicks says if you are prescribed an antibiotic, take the entire course, even if you are feeling better. They also say not to “save” any antibiotics for the next time you get sick and not to share your antibiotics with anyone.

More Information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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