HEALTH CENTER

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To Prescribe Antibiotics or Not? by Jonathan Vielma

jonathancropped-234x300An antibiotic is a type of drug used to treat a bacterial infection. An antibiotic’s purpose is to stop the ability of bacteria to grow or otherwise to kill off all bacteria. The first antibiotic developed was penicillin. It was created by Alexander Fleming in 1928. He won and received a Nobel Prize for the discovery, but had warned of future antibiotic-resistant bacteria to penicillin.

Today one of the main difficulties is determining the correct antibiotic to prescribe. In other words, many of us have at one time or another gone to doctors, received a prescription for treatment, but did not improve and remained sick or worsened. The reason for this is antibiotic resistance.  Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon. When an antibiotic is used, some bacteria remain resistant to the medicine and continue to multiply, causing the bacteria to spread and the person to remain sick.

As antibiotics have become more commonly used in treating infections, the “bug” which causes the infection has become stronger. While the use of antibiotics is often required and necessary for treatment of certain active infections, it remains important for doctors to prescribe with their best judgment and wisdom.

Often you’ll hear the discussion of bacterial vs. viral. “To prescribe or not to prescribe” has often become the doctor’s main question when treating sick patients. Basically, antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections and viral infections remain untreatable by antibiotics.

AntibioticsBacteria only responds to antibiotics they are susceptible to. In rare cases, the first prescribed medication for this microscopic intruder is not the ideal antibiotic for treatment. The person being treated has to understand the only thing prescribing doctors can see are the signs and symptoms of the cold. Medical personnel often deal only with what is at face value. Only certain tests can explain the type of infection responsible for making people sick, and only certain lab tests can be run at a proper laboratory that specializes in testing for the correct infection.

As antibiotic usage has increased over the years since its introduction, so has the level of bacterial infections. Concern has arisen over antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These bacteria have become resistant and sometimes untreatable to any known antibiotics. This is quite alarming as it leads to a more dangerous type of infection. As medical discoveries continue, more and more breakthroughs will no doubt be made. Overall this reminds us to seek responsible medical treatment. Always remember that good medical treatment requires wisdom and discernment regarding both the doctors and the person treated. You should never hesitate to seek medical treatment when required, since infections often can begin without notice.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.