If you have ever gone to your doctor with a terrible sore throat, or what you thought could be the flu, expecting a prescription for an antibiotic to knock it out, you were likely disappointed and maybe a little perturbed when the doctor did not give you one. The truth is that an antibiotic is just not effective in certain cases, and in fact, that is true of many ailments.
Here is a review of illnesses that do or do not require antibiotics and why.
Bacteria vs. A Virus
Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria and prevent it from growing. Bacteria living in our body can be good or bad for us, but antibiotics treat the bad bacteria that cause certain infections in children and adults.
Viruses are different and most require vaccinations to prevent the virus, or anti-viral drugs to impede its development. Like in the case of polio or measles, antibiotics are ineffective.
Premier Urgent Care Center can determine which type of infection you have, bacterial or viral, before prescribing a treatment. Sometimes your physician will simply send you home advising you to rest, drink lots of water, and take OTC medications for discomfort.
Bacterial infections include strep throat, TB, whooping cough, UTI or urinary tract infections, and sepsis. In all these cases, most physicians will prescribe a course of antibiotics. Always follow the instructions for the best results.
Viral infections include the common cold, the flu, sore throat, AIDS, herpes, and chickenpox. In addition, measles, mumps and rubella, Hepatitis A and C, plus rabies and encephalitis or inflammation of the brain are all viral.
Sometimes bronchitis, ear and sinus infections, pneumonia, meningitis, or diarrhea can be either or both bacterial and viral. Your physician may prescribe antibiotics if the benefits outweigh any risks along with antiviral medications to clear up the infection.
Physicians across the world have limited the use of antibiotics due to the growth of resistance to the drug.
Bacteria have developed the ability to beat the drugs due to overuse of antibiotics. According to the CDC, each year 2 million people are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria, and 23,000 people die.
Don’t get perturbed with your doctor if he or she refuses to prescribe antibiotic meds. They are trying to protect you as well as provide the most effective treatment available.