Inappropriate Use of Antibiotics

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Antibiotics are powerful medicines, but they cannot cure everything. Misuse of antibiotics can have damaging consequences. Dr. Edward Hill looks at antibiotic use in the 60 Second Housecall.

There are many types of antibiotics. Most have a limited number of the types of bacteria that they can inhibit or destroy. Other antibiotics are broad spectrum, meaning they can destroy many types of bacteria.

Antibiotics should be used only for bacterial infections and are not effective against the viruses that cause many illnesses including influenza and most upper respiratory tract infections, including the common cold, or fungal infections like those caused by yeast.

The inappropriate use of antibiotics for these types of infections as well as the more frequent use of broad-spectrum antibiotics has caused the emergence of newer strains of bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics.

Here are some things you can do to help make sure antibiotics will work when you need them.

h Take antibiotics only when prescribed to you by a physician.

h Follow all directions when taking antibiotics and take the entire prescribed regimen even if you feel better before finishing them.

h Throw away any unused antibiotics.

h Do not share your medication and dont take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.

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