If you’ve been reading this newsletter for any length of time, you know how I feel about antibiotics. They are over prescribed and, in many cases, completely unwarranted. In the U.S., it’s believed, each year, 47 million antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. Knowing this, we can’t be surprised at the growing threat of antibiotic resistance (when bacteria no longer respond to the drugs designed to kill them).
Antibiotics are useful and save lives, but we must be prudent as to when they should be used and for how long. Antibiotic resistance is real and can affect you and your family—when you need them most.
Organizations like The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) are working to educate physicians on appropriate treatments. ABIM has partnered with Consumer Reports on Choosing Wisely—a program designed to promote appropriate healthcare resources with insights from 50 clinical specialty groups.
It is not uncommon for patients to ask their physician for antibiotics to treat a cold or flu. In the past, many doctors would routinely accommodate their patients’ requests. Since viruses usually cause these infections and antibiotics don’t affect them, it will result in no improvement. This leads to antibiotic resistance and unnecessary side effects, like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and allergic reactions. The ABIM and Consumer Reports are looking to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions by 20% over the next 3-years.
Be cautious when prescribed antibiotics—all antibiotics are not created equal. Some are broad spectrum, which kill both good and bad bacteria. You may want to ask your doctor about taking the minimum amount required. Of course, don’t assume you even need an antibiotic. In naturopathic medicine, we believe a healthy body has a strong immune system—one that will allow the body to heal itself. Seeing your naturopathic physician before there’s a problem may help you avoid an illness all together.
- 5 Big Myths About Antibiotics (video)
- Dangerous Overuse of Antibiotics (video)
- The Rise of Superbugs (video)
- Avoiding Antibiotics in Meat (video)