Image Credit: Alex Raths
Antibiotics are specifically designed to target and kill bacteria or inhibit their growth. They have been a medical breakthrough in treating bacterial infections ranging from strep throat to life-threatening conditions like sepsis. However, they are completely ineffective against viral infections such as the common cold, flu, and most cases of bronchitis.
Did you know up to 50% of antibiotics are inappropriately prescribed? The overuse and misuse of antibiotics play a significant role in developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As bacteria become resistant, the ability to treat common infections diminishes. Simple infections could become life-threatening, and they can also interfere with procedures like organ transplants, cancer treatments, and surgeries that rely on antibiotics for infection prevention.
Antibiotics should be used appropriately in the following ways:
Consult a Healthcare Professional: Only take antibiotics when prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider. They can determine if an infection is bacterial and which antibiotic is most appropriate. Remember to always ask questions!
Complete the Full Course: Finish the prescribed course of antibiotics even if you start feeling better. Bacteria can develop resistance if you stop too soon.
Avoid Sharing Antibiotics: Antibiotics are designed for specific infections. Do not share yours with others or use someone else's prescription just because the symptoms are similar.
Avoid Antibiotics for Viral Infections: Understand that antibiotics are powerless against viral infections like the flu, the common cold, or most cases of bronchitis. Please consult your healthcare provider if you are not feeling well and be specific when describing your symptoms.
Practice Good Hygiene: Regular hand washing, safe food handling, and vaccinations are excellent ways to prevent infections.
Probiotics and Diet: Consider taking probiotics after taking antibiotics to help restore your gut's healthy bacteria. In addition to promoting overall health, a balanced diet can also boost your immune system.
Always consult your doctor or healthcare provider about your illness or if you have any health-related concerns.
The USFHP Primary Healthcare Plan provides routine doctor's visits, hospitalization, prescription coverage, preventative health care coverage, and specialty care. We’ve also developed incentive programs that reward our members for meeting certain health goals.
Visit usfhp.net or call 1-800- 241-4848. We can assist you Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (EST).