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How To Know When You Need Antibiotics

Dont Be Afraid To Ask Your Doctor Questions

Antibiotics & your baby: what you need to know

I would encourage parents to always ask the question of their childs doctor, Are you sure this is really absolutely necessary? Is there any chance he or she will get better without an antibiotic? Dr. Mangione-Smith said.

Sometimes, she added, doctors are concerned that if they dont give parents an antibiotic after theyve brought their child in for an evaluation, the parents will be dissatisfied and unhappy and theyre just going to go to urgent care and get the antibiotic from somebody else.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2018 found that 46 percent of people who visited urgent care centers in 2014 for viral illnesses such as colds, the flu or viral bronchitis were prescribed antibiotics, likely unnecessarily.

Dr. Mangione-Smith, whose research has examined communication between parents, doctors and nurse practitioners at 600 pediatric appointments in Los Angeles and Seattle, found that most parents want advice from their doctors on how to help their child feel better and many are happy to be leaving without an antibiotic.

No parent likes to watch their child suffering or in pain, she said.

Antibiotics Are Not One

The antibiotics that work for a urinary tract infection arent the same as the ones that will fight strep throat. And the broad-spectrum antibiotics used to fight infections in hospitals arent the same as the very specific antibiotics your doctor may prescribe to treat a bacterial ear infection.

Heres why thats matters: If you take the wrong medication, it wont be effective.

On top of that, it may have unpleasant and unwanted side effects. In most cases, side effects of antibiotics are pretty benign. But, for example, taking those broad-spectrum antibiotics for an extended period of time can put you at risk for C. diff, a severe and hard-to-treat infection.

Q: What Is The Best Way To Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

First and foremost, talk to your health care provider about your illness and its symptoms. If possible, have your health care provider take a culture to determine if the illness is caused by a virus or bacteria. Don’t take an antibiotic for a viral infection. Decreasing the inappropriate use of antibiotics is the best way to prevent resistance.

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How You Can Treat Bacterial Infections

Along with strep throat, bacteria are responsible for many other infections, including urinary tract infections, bronchitis, sinusitis, cellulitis, Lyme disease and tetanus. If your health care provider diagnoses a bacterial infection, they can determine whether you need an antibiotic. Some bacterial infections get better on their own, but thats rare, Dr. Price said.

Most of the time, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. If thats the case, its essential to take the entire courseeven if you feel better, you need to take all of your medication to make sure you clear the infection.

How To Tell When You Need Antibiotics


21:23 EDT, 25 August 2014 | Updated:

There’s always the temptation when you get fed up with that troublesome cough or bout of sinusitis to go and ask the doctor if they can give you anything for it.

Often that ‘anything’ will be antibiotics. GPs write around 35 million prescriptions for these every year in England – an increase of 30 per cent since 2000, according to NHS figures.

To some, antibiotics are regarded as a cure-all. In fact, they work only for bacterial infections – so if that sore throat is the result of a virus, they won’t do any good.

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o some, antibiotics are regarded as a cure-all. In fact, they work only for bacterial infections

Yet a recent study revealed that almost half of GPs admit prescribing antibiotics even when they know they won’t help – and 90 per cent said they felt pressure from patients to do so.

Yet giving antibiotics to those who don’t really need them is partly to blame for the rise in antibiotic-resistant super bugs, according to the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies.

‘If a doctor says antibiotics are not appropriate for an illness, we should all listen and not pressurise them into giving us unnecessary drugs,’ she said last month. ‘Resistance to antibiotics is a real threat.’

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When Not To Take Antibiotics

Antibiotics do not work for viral infections, for example, colds and flu, and most coughs and sore throats.

Many mild bacterial infections get better on their own without using antibiotics.

If you take antibiotics when you do not need them, they may not work as well for you in the future.

This is because strains of bacteria resistant to antibiotics have emerged. They are known as ‘superbugs’.

What Are Antibiotics Used To Treat

Antibiotics are used for treating infections caused by bacteria. Sometimes its difficult to determine if your infection is caused by bacteria or a virus because the symptoms are often very similar.

Your healthcare professional will evaluate your symptoms and conduct a physical exam to determine the cause of your infection. In some cases, they may request a blood or urine test to confirm the cause of infection.

Some common bacterial infections include:

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How To Know If You Need An Antibiotic

Cold and flu season is on us in a big way. Hopefully you have been lucky but lots of people are getting sick.

If you are sick, how do you know when you need an antibiotic? This is an important question especially now during cold and flu season.

The distinction is between viral and bacterial infections. Antibiotics dont help viral infections .

Antibiotics are used in many cases in which they are not helpful. This can lead to digestive side effects, more frequent infections, and even more severe side effects. At the same time, you wouldnt want to ignore a bacterial infection and be sick longer than necessary.

How can you tell if an infection is viral or bacterial?

Think about four areas in which you can have symptoms:

  • Lungs productive cough, sense of pressure
  • Throat pain and burning
  • Sinuses pressure, pain, congestion, runny nose
  • Ears pressure, pain

Many find this the opposite of what they would expect, but the more places in which you have symptoms the more likely you are to have a viral infection.

The most common combination would be a cough, sore throat, and a runny nose. In almost all cases, thats a virus.

If you have really pronounced symptoms in just one area, then you may have a bacterial infection.

Say you have a deep productive cough, chest pain, a fever, but NO runny nose and NO sore throat. That could be pneumonia.

Or you have a sore throat, a fever, body aches, and NO cough, and NO runny nose, and NO ear symptoms. That could be strep throat.

When Should You Decline An Antibiotic

Antibiotics – What You Need To Know

Though antibiotics are safe and effective ways to fight bacterial infections, you shouldn’t feel pressured to take a prescription you don’t want to. “If you aren’t comfortable with the treatment that is recommended for you, I encourage you to voice your concerns and ask for an alternative if possibleit is your body and your right to ask questions,” says Dr. Cohn. “Depending on the infection, sometimes it is reasonable to ‘watch and wait’ to see if things get better on their own before starting an antibiotic. If the infection is severe or has a risk of becoming serious, your provider will likely encourage you to start the antibiotic right away.”

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How To Take Antibiotics

Take antibiotics as directed on the packet or the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine, or as instructed by your GP or pharmacist.

Antibiotics can come as:

  • tablets, capsules or a liquid that you drink these can be used to treat most types of mild to moderate infections in the body
  • creams, lotions, sprays and drops these are often used to treat skin infections and eye or ear infections
  • injections these can be given as an injection or through a drip directly into the blood or muscle, and are used for more serious infections

Antibiotics : Everything You Need To Know About Antibiotics

Do you have a sore throat, persistent cough or the flu? No problem, just ask your primary care physician for an antibiotic. Not so fast. Antibiotics won’t help.

Colds, flu and other common illnesses are caused by viruses, and antibiotics don’t kill them. There are no medications that kill these viruses. Antiviral medications will only inhibit a virus’s development. But, if you have a virus, it must run its natural course usually in two weeks.

Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria, fungi and some parasites. They are commonly used to treat pneumonia, sinus infections, strep throat, ear infections, skin infections, acne, urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

So how do you know if your illness is caused by a virus or bacteria, or if you need an antibiotic? We asked Dr. Victor Fainstein, an infectious disease specialist at Houston Methodist Hospital, to discuss these and other antibiotic-related questions.

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Are There Illnesses Antibiotics Can’t Help

Antibiotics are helpful, but not a cure-all. “Antibiotics do not work on viral infections, like colds, or fungal infections, like yeast infections,” notes Dr. Cohn. “If you have a viral infection, like a bronchitis, some sinus infections, or a stomach bug, antibiotics will not work. This is why it is so important to see a clinician before starting an antibiotic to make sure it is necessary, and if not, get information on other things you can do to feel better.”

Youre Blowing Green Or Yellow Snot

Antibiotic Resistance

When your body is fighting an infection, some of the snot from your nose will change color. One of the signs of bacteria is having green or yellow snot. You can also have green or yellow phlegm when you a cough.

Viral infections usually lead to thin, clear secretions. You also wont usually have any phlegm come up. Youll want to discuss this symptom with your doctor.

However, there are times that green or yellow secretions can be a sign of a tough viral infection. Your doctor will still have to look at other symptoms, but the color is a good indication.

One of the ways to tell if the discolored snot and phlegm is bacterial is to look at the thickness. The viral discoloration will still usually be relatively thin. With a bacterial infection, the phlegm usually becomes much thicker and tougher. There may also be some blood when coughing, as the infection gets worse.

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Are You Suffering From Common Cold Cough Or Flu Symptoms Read This Before Popping An Antibiotic

Written by Shraddha Rupavate | Updated : July 15, 2014 4:36 PM IST

The on-going war on antibiotics and the term ‘antibiotic resistance’ has scared everyone about the use, overuse and misuse of antibiotics. It’s true that antibiotics are not needed every time you suffer from cold and cough, but the symptoms shouldn’t be ignored to an extent that the infection becomes worse. Antibiotics are truly a boon to medical science because they have the ability to stop infections and are life-saving in many cases. To clear your confusion, here are a few ways that can help you to determine whether or not you need an antibiotic for your infection.

Also, ensure that you complete the course of your medicines as prescribed, and don’t stop taking them once you start feeling better. This is the main reason why antibiotic resistance has come into existence.

A proper diagnosis is the only way to determine whether you need antibiotics or not. So, don’t insist your doctor to prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily. Also, don’t reuse leftover medicines if you suffer from common cold or flu in the future. It’s better to discard them. Read more about current status of antibiotics’ use in India.

Theres A Serious Rash Growing

One of the most feared infections in children is meningitis. There are all these horror stories of otherwise healthy children suddenly coming down with the bacterial infections and being unable to fight off the infection. Their immune systems struggle.

A rash is one of the first signs of the bacterial infection. Before you worry about every rash, this is one of those that doesnt disappear with the tumbler test . After all, rashes can also be signs of viral infections, irritations, and allergic reactions.

Its still important to keep an eye on the rash. If it gets bigger, grows redder and also sees some discharge, theres a sign that its more serious than viral infections. You should also watch out for inflammation and other signs of illnesses. A bacterial rash will usually be linked to high fevers, floppiness, and extreme fatigue, especially in children.

Your doctor will likely refer you to the hospital if there is a fear of a serious bacterial infection from the rash. This isnt something thats taken lightly. At the hospital, tests can be carried out to make sure its bacterial, the type of bacteria and the best type of treatment.

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Signs You Need To Take Antibiotics

You may have heard of the overuse of antibiotics. The point of antibiotics is to kill bacteria that can make you extremely ill. There are times that people use antibiotics when they dont actually need them, but then there are also cases where people dont use them when theyre the only way to fight against infection.

Before assuming you dont need a doctor and you can avoid antibiotics, listen to your body and look at all your symptoms. You want to do the best thing for your health and your body.

How To Tell When You Need Antibiotics For An Ear Infection

What you need to know about overusing antibiotics

By Emerald Coast Urgent Care

Earaches are the most common reason why parents bring their children to the doctors. In fact, before the age of three, 5 out of 6 kids will experience an earache.

Because kids ears dont drain as well as adults, it is much more common for kids to get ear infections. But adults can get them as well.

If youre having severe pain in your ear that lasts for days, you may need medical attention. Heres how to tell if you need antibiotics for an ear infection.

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What You Can Do To Feel Better

  • Ask your healthcare professional about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.
  • If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
  • Talk with your healthcare professional if you develop any side effects, especially severe diarrhea, since that could be a C. diff. infection, which needs to be treated immediately.
  • Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy:
  • Clean hands by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay home when sick
  • Get recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.

To learn more about antibiotic resistance, visit CDCs Antibiotic Resistance website.

Do You Need A Prescription For Antibiotics

Except for over-the-counter products that prevent infections in cuts and scrapes, you’ll need doctor to prescribe antibiotic treatments, says Dr. Cohn, but this also provides you with an opportunity to discuss other medications you’re taking. “Most antibiotics do not interact with other medications, including birth control, but it is important to review your medications with your doctor in case there is a small risk of interactions,” she explains. “Alcohol generally does not cause interactions with antibioticswith a few important exceptionsbut excessive alcohol use may decrease how well the antibiotic works and how well your body is able to fight off the infection.”

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Talk With Your Doctor If You Develop Any Side Effects Or Allergic Reactions While Taking An Antibiotic

In children, reactions from antibiotics are the most common cause of medication-related emergency department visits.

Common side effects range from minor to very severe health problems and can include:

More serious side effects can include:

  • C. diff infection, which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death
  • Severe and life-threatening allergic reactions
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections

If you need antibiotics, the benefits usually outweigh the risks of side effects and antibiotic resistance.

Q: What Are Antibiotics

6 Things You Need To Know About Antibiotics

Antibiotics are a class of drugs, also called antimicrobials, that fight bacterial infections. Penicillin, which was the first antibiotic, was discovered in the late 1920s, but it wasn’t used to treat infections until the 1940s. Several antibiotics are currently on the market and each class affects different types of bacterium.

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Do You Need Antibiotics

There is a serious problem with overuse of antibiotics. Many antibiotic-resistant forms of bacteria are becoming a major concern. One of the most common MRSA, but there are many others. Before you jump straight to the idea that you need antibiotics to treat your infection, make sure its definitely a bacterial one.

Viral infections annoyingly have no treatments. Fungal infections need a different type of treatment. Antibiotics will kill all bacteria in the body leading to possibly other health problems afterward, such as fungal and yeast infections.

Your doctor will want to listen to all your symptoms and look at those that are visible. There are some that are more serious than others, especially discharge from wounds and rashes, that can indicate bacterial infections immediately. However, most of the time, the only way to determine if theres a bacterial infection is a culture test. Check out more info on apple cider vinegar for mucus in throat here

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