Only severe infections require antibiotics, and improperly prescribing them has had devastating consequences.
The next time you come down with a cough or bronchitis, don’t go running to the doctor for an antibiotic. According to Public Health England (PHE), such drugs are often unnecessary and can do more harm than good, the BBC reported.
The overuse of antibiotics has created drug-resistant infections that infect at least 2 million people a year in the United States, and lead to the deaths of 23,000. According to the CDC, up to 50 percent of the time, antibiotics are not properly prescribed — when they are not needed or with the incorrect dosage or duration.
While antibiotics are essential for serious infections like sepsis, pneumonia and bacterial meningitis, they are not necessary for every illness.
According to the PHE, coughs or bronchitis will take up to three weeks to resolve on their own. Taking antibiotics would reduce that time by only one or two days.
Instead, Professor Paul Cosford, medical director at PHE told the BBC, “”The majority of us will get infections from time to time and will recover because of our own immunity.”
His advice for most infections:
- get plenty of rest
- take pain relief such as acetaminophen
- drink lots of fluids