With WebMD and other online resources helping more patients diagnose themselves nowadays, patients often show up to a doctor’s office with their mind made up about the best treatment plan for their illness. Many have already decided that they need antibiotics!
Have you ever felt this way?
A doctor, however, may not prescribe antibiotics. Here’s a few reasons why:
- It isn’t medically indicated. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections only. Viral infections (like the common cold or flu) and fungal infections (like ringworm or yeast infections) do not respond to antibiotics.
- You can get better without antibiotics. While antibiotics have helped millions of people over the years, your body is equipped with an immune system as the primary defense against any foreign invader. In lieu of antibiotics, your doctor may recommend rest, hydration and reliance upon your own immune system for certain mild illnesses. Some studies in fact suggest that if you take antibiotics when you do not need them, they may not work when you truly need them!
- Overuse of antibiotics can mean they ultimately stop working. When doctors don’t prescribe antibiotics, it’s not because they’re trying to delay your recovery; they may be trying to protect you in the long run from antibiotic resistant organisms. Studies have shown that the overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance, meaning the medication is no longer effective or much less effective in treating an infection.
- Antibiotics can have negative side effects. Treatment with antibiotics may lead to untoward side effects, including allergic reactions and diarrhea, so a doctor needs to weigh the pros and cons when deciding whether it is prudent to treat you or not.
If you are interested in antibiotics to get better but aren’t prescribed them, ask your doctor why he or she isn’t prescribing them. You may well find there is a logical and helpful reason!
Get more information about antibiotics at some of these resources: