For many years, doctors prescribed antibiotics generously for a range of conditions, including very minor cases of infections. The outcome has been antibiotic overuse and the appearance of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Although antibiotics can be an important part of treatment plans for many different conditions, taking them when they are not needed could be dangerous and leave you at risk for needing emergency care for an infection that won’t respond to medications. Before you get antibiotics for an illness, here is what you need to know about some of the risks of taking these medications unnecessarily and when antibiotics may be needed.
Antibiotics increase resistant infections and cause side effects.
When you take an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, the medication will cause most of the bacteria to die. However, some of the bacteria will inevitably survive, and these survivors can multiply and cause another infection that is made up of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A resistant infection can be dangerous and extremely costly to treat. Most people with antibiotic-resistant infections have to stay in the hospital, and their treatment costs more than $40,000 more than the treatment for normal bacterial infections.
Antibiotics can cause side effects.
Antibiotics can also be accompanied by serious side effects. Because they indiscriminately kill bacteria, taking antibiotics kills the good bacteria in the body that protect your health. When taking antibiotics, many people experience diarrhea, vomiting, vaginal infections, and dangerous allergic reactions. About 14,000 people die annually from diarrhea that is caused by taking antibiotics.
Taking antibiotics only when needed reduces the risks.
Antibiotics are only effective at treating bacterial infections, so don’t take them if you have a viral infection. Many bacterial infections will improve on their own within a few days with home treatment. Reserve antibiotic use for serious infections that aren’t responding to other remedies. Aggressive use of antibiotics may also be necessary in people with weakened immune systems. Often, antibiotic ointments and drops can be more effective than oral antibiotics for skin, ear, and eye infections.
At Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center , we’re committed to providing the highest quality healthcare possible without the risk of unnecessary treatments. You can learn more about all of our hospital services, including emergency care, stroke care, and orthopedic surgery in Las Vegas, by calling (702) 880-2700.