No! Antibiotics cannot treat a cold or virus and in fact, taking them for such illnesses can lead antibiotic resistance down the line. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has classified antibiotic resistance as one of the world’s most pressing health problems. Even when antibiotics drugs are used properly, bacteria and microbes are constantly evolving and developing some resistance. This resistance reduces or, in time, eliminates the ability of these drugs to be effective against bacteria.
Microbes within our body develop a resistance to bacteria overtime and with exposure. They also develop resistance to the antibiotics they encounter. Since the microbes and bacteria live on both the inside and outside of our bodies, they are easily spread to friends, family, coworkers and others, thereby passing along resistant strains of bacteria to others.
By following a few simple steps, however, you can help to reduce antibiotic resistance.
The key is for all of us to understand that we do play a role in this. According to the CDC and medical professionals, these steps would help immeasurably.
1. Reduce the instances of use. Ask your physician if there is anything else that could make you feel better sooner.
2. Only take antibiotics when appropriate. Do not use them to treat a cold.
3. Do not save antibiotics for the next time you are sick. Discard all unused medication once you have completed your entire course of treatment.
4. When antibiotics are prescribed, take them exactly as ordered. Do not skip dosages.
5. Complete the entire course of treatment. Do not stop taking antibiotics only because you feel better. If treatment stops too soon, there is a greater chance of some bacteria surviving, thus becoming resistant.
6. Do not take antibiotics that are prescribed for someone else. Their antibiotic may not be appropriate for your illness.
7. If your physician recommends something other than an antibiotic, do not pressure them for antibiotics. Ask what other medications may relieve your symptoms. Antibiotics play a vital role in minimizing infections and
To learn more about antibiotic resistance, contact an EJGH Internist at 504-456-5000, or visit ejgh.org.