Problem of Unnecessary Antibiotics

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The Problem of Unnecessary Antibiotics: And the Power of Natural Alternatives


When your doctor tells you that your cold symptoms are due to a virus (and not a bacterial infection), do you ask for antibiotics anyway, “just in case?” After all, what does it really hurt? Perhaps antibiotics will even help a little — sort of like adding an extra insurance policy to your virus — just in case there’s a little bit of bacteria in there somewhere.  Unfortunately, this type of reasoning, though very common, is false, and even harmful. The truth is that taking unnecessary antibiotics harms our bodies and continues to fuel the growing public health crisis of antibiotic resistance.

In a new study led by George Washington University, over half of the patients surveyed were well aware that antibiotics wouldn’t cure their viruses—but they still wanted to take them anyway “just in case.” These findings show the alarming misconceptions that much of the public still holds.  The researchers emphasize that public education materials need to be revised so that they inform about the specific dangers of taking unnecessary antibiotics—risks such as antibiotic resistance, secondary infections, allergic reactions, among others. Their findings appear in the journalMedical Decision Making .

“If patients think that antibiotics can’t hurt, we can’t just focus on telling them that they probably have a virus,” said David Broniatowski, assistant professor in GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. “We need to let them know that antibiotics can have some pretty bad side effects, and that they will definitely not help cure a viral infection.” Click HERE to continue-

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