Bacterial Infections Are Gaining Ground Against Antibiotics Because Of Overuse, says some healthcare professionals


SPECIAL REPORT--You’ve got a cold, sore throat, runny nose and a dry cough. Perhaps your cough produces a little phylum.  For most Americans, colds are a common virus that they may get once or twice a year. If you have school-aged children, you may feel like such viruses are unrelenting. However, most viruses pass within days and require very little care.


The Center For Disease Control (CDC) however, has seen a growing trend that could become serious.  The CDC reports that antibiotic overuse is rampant and the real threat—bacterial infections—are becoming more resistant to antibiotics when needed.


Sinusitis and bronchitis are upper respiratory tract infections usually caused by viruses and antibiotics have no effect on viral infections.  Common colds and influenza are also viruses. While receiving an influenza inoculation can help in many cases with the flu, antibiotics do nothing to lessen the symptoms or shorten the duration of a viral illness.


“Antibiotic overuse is a serious problem and a threat to everyone’s health,” said Dr. Lauri Hicks, medical director of CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work program.  Hicks states that over-prescribing antibiotics, using a broad-spectrum therapy when a more specific drug would be better, starting and stopping medications, or giving leftover medicine to family or friends can contribute to antibiotic resistance.


“As we enter this year’s cold and flu season, we ask parents to not insist on getting antibiotics when a health care provider says they are not needed,” say Hicks. “If you have a cold, or the flu, antibiotics won’t work for you.”


While it is possible to develop a secondary bacterial infection during or subsequently after a viral illness, it is best to allow your health care provider to decide when antibiotics are appropriate.


Antibiotics should not be taken for preventative purposes. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily increases the risk that a person may develop a bacterial infection that resists the medication when needed, such as with bacterial pneumonia. Such illnesses pose a much greater threat than sinusitis or bronchitis, which usually clear up on their own with proper care and a little time.


Dr. Hicks also stresses the importance of washing your hands frequently, getting your annual flu vaccination and avoid close contact with people who are sick.