Is An Antibiotic Really Necessary?

Have you ever taken your child to the doctor only to be told that they will not prescribe you an antibiotic? You leave feeling frustrated, annoyed and not to mention you have a very sick kid on your hands. Well, the reasoning behind not providing you a prescription is because physicians are trying to make sure they are treating the appropriate infection the appropriate way. 

Medical facilities write over 47 million unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics a year. Dr. Thomas B. Harper III, a board certified allergist with Charleston Allergy & Asthma, states that “physicians are very concerned that the over use of antibiotics for viruses is causing the development of resistant bacteria making it very difficult to treat. He urges physicians to limit the use of antibiotics for bacterial infections only.”

With 1/3 to 1/2 of antibiotic use deemed inappropriate, it’s no wonder the CDC has stated that this is a “national priority.” Antibiotics need to be reserved for bacterial infections, as they do not treat viruses, such as the cold or flu, nor do they treat sore throats and bronchitis. And most sinus and ear infections will resolve over time with rest, fluids and over-the-counter medicines.

As discouraging as it might seem when you leave the doctor’s office without a prescription, whether that be for you or your child, please keep in mind that it is for your best interest. Per the CDC, “to combat antibiotic resistance and avoid adverse drug reactions, we must use antibiotics appropriately. This means using antibiotics only when needed and, if needed, using them correctly.”

Keep an open dialogue with your provider regarding your symptoms and if you do not see a change or get worse, perhaps an antibiotic will be prescribed.