Friday, January 16, 2009

Antibiotics can be helpful but they can also be harmful if taken improperly. Dr. Edward Hill discusses antibiotics and when they should be used in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Antibiotics are medicines that can stop some infections and can even save lives. But antibiotics can do more harm than good if they are not used properly. You can protect yourself and your family by knowing when to use antibiotics.

Antibiotics only fight against infections caused by bacteria. They do not work against infections caused by viruses. Viruses cause colds, the flu, most coughs and sore throats, and some infections.

When bacteria are exposed repeatedly to the same antibiotic, often the antibiotic stops working. This causes the organism to change and become resistant to the antibiotic.

Antibiotic resistance is becoming a problem in many parts of the United States. Resistant organisms grow faster when antibiotics are used too often or improperly. If you take antibiotics that cannot fight the organism they are supposed to kill, the infection could get worse instead of better. Every time you take antibiotics when they are not needed, you increase the chance of getting an illness caused by organisms resistant to antibiotics.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.