Are antibiotics giving us a false sense of wellness when we feel ill? Check out this NY Times article.


Are antibiotics giving us a false sense of wellness when we feel ill? Check out this NY Times article.

You have a cold that has lasted more than a few days, often we go home with an antibiotic or if the doctor did not offer one, we requested they give it to us. If you had a sinus or ear infection, antibiotics seem to be the cure de jour regardless of whether they will affect the outcome. Of course, there are other conservative options that we can choose, except we had been trained for years to take an antibiotic just in case or to cure the what if scenario if we didn’t. What is a healthcare consumer to do based on what they have been taught to do since childhood?

Did you know that the first Ebola case in the US was seen in the emergency room, given an antibiotic and then sent home, even though Ebola is a virus that would not ever respond to this?

The NY Times explores this modern healthcare dilemma since we have a problem now with growing resistance, evidence that our obesity problem may be as a result of antibiotics in the food chain (used to fatten up animals we eventually consume) and the secondary effect on how it effects our gut.

Check out this article in the NY Times

On an Antibiotic? You May Be Getting Only a False Sense of Security

The best way to prevent transmission of Ebola in the United States is to identify and quarantine those with the disease as soon as possible. However, the first Ebola patient in this country was, unfortunately, released after going to an emergency room, even though he had symptoms indicative of the disease. He was sent home on antibiotics.

The antibiotics were, of course, of no use in treating Ebola. They’d be of no use for any viral infection, for that matter. Even if the patient had actually had a sinus infection, as his doctors initially believed, antibiotics probably wouldn’t have done much for that either.

Yet antibiotics are regularly prescribed in this manner. Cases like this highlight a real, but often ignored, danger from their overuse: a false sense of security.

As a pediatrician and a parent, I’ve seen many protocols and procedures that require the use of antibiotics for a number of illnesses that may not necessitate them. These plans are in place, ostensibly, to protect other children from getting sick. They rest on the idea that someone on antibiotics is no longer contagious.

This is, tragically, often not the case. If you’ve had a small child with pinkeye, you know that few diseases can get your toddler banned from preschool faster. Most of the time, he will not be able to return to school until he has been on antibiotic drops for 24 hours.

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