Antibiotics


| 3 Comments
Sickness runs rampant in college. With everyone being so close and sharing things that should probably not be shared, it seems like everyone is sick, like always. A common way to get rid of this sickness is to go to UHS, MedExpress, or your doc of choice to get prescribed an antibiotic. What happens, however, when your diagnosis of strep or bronchitis is wrong and the doctor prescribes the antibiotic anyway. You're probably thinking, "No, doctors are smarter than that." Nope, they're not.

Harvard University recently did a study that analyzed a medicinal survey and found that, "doctors prescribed antibiotics in 60 percent of visits for sore throats and 73 percent of visits for acute bronchitis." Antibiotics for sore throats should be prescribed about ten percent of the time and nearly zero for bronchitis. 

The reasoning these prescribing rates are so low is because bronchitis and most sore throats are viral infections. Antibiotics are used to fight off bacterial infections. Bronchitis and a regular sore throat are NOT these things. Essentially, if you are taking an antibiotic for either of these things, you are subjecting yourself to all the side effects of an antibiotic, but you're also building up both you're tolerance for an antibiotic and helping to create "super bugs," which will make your recovery from a bacterial infection more difficult because of the misuse. Antibiotics are extremely effective, but they must be used the correct way to behave in this manner. 

One thing I have difficulty understanding, however, is how this is happening so easily. How are doctors, who are trained to understand medicine and the human body, so easily confusing common illnesses with one another? It's simple to find this information on Google, so how are these numbers so distorted? 

Be careful when you think you need an antibiotic, and make sure your doctor makes the correct diagnosis before taking them. It may not be the end of the world, but why put something into your body if it's not going to make you better because of it?



3 Comments

I'm actually really glad you did a blog post about this. I had a friend over the summer who was sick and went to UHS and the medicine they gave him made him even sicker. Not until two weeks later when he went back again did they prescribe him the correct medicine and then another week after that was he feeling better. Being a doctor would be incredibly hard and I know I could never do that. So many illnesses, so many different types of medicine, it would definitely be a lot to know. But doctors get paid a lot of money to give patients the correct medicine, so those numbers you mentioned above are a little frightening. This also reminds me of all those commercials that are on TV that tell people they can suit doctors of get money from companies if they were prescribed a particular type of medicine. For most people, we don't know much about the hundreds of different medicine doctors could prescribe you. To make sure you're staying as proactive as you can, read the article I put a link to below. Maybe some of these tips will come in handy next time you visit the doctors!

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000501.htm

This is very interesting to me for I was sick last year and I thought I had bronchitis, but I was never diagnosed with it. The doctor never gave me a prescription for a certain antibiotic, but they asked if I wanted to go on a z-pak to get rid of the symptoms faster. I did not go on the z-pak for my roommate took z-paks every time she was sick and something always seemed wrong about that to me. I later found out that taking too many z-paks can be harmful to your health. As it helps heals your cold, it can cause your heart to have rhythm problems and sudden death.
Here's an article and an awesome video by ABC News that explains the dangers.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/03/12/new-heart-warning-for-popular-z-pack-antibiotics/

It is a very scary idea thinking that your most trusted doctor could be carelessly signing away medications and prescriptions that may have nothing to do with your illness. I remember as a child, I would go into the pediatrician's office for less than 4 minutes and be prescribed a very strong antibiotic for a common cold. Luckily, my mother is a nurse so she didn't allow me to take anything sketchy or too much for my illness. You have to be careful what words you give the doctor that describe your sickness, to ensure they completely understand in what ways you are suffering and to avoid confusion. There are keywords they look for and may interpret your story as something else. Here's an article I came across that reveal the 6 "secrets" to getting the right medicine diagnosis for your problem: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2009/09/02/6-secrets-to-getting-the-right-medical-diagnosis. I found it to be extremely helpful.

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