Consumers have gotten so germophobic in the last few decades. Hand sanitizers can be seen everywhere. Parents freak out over “germs.” In the supermarket, consumers snatch up anything labeled “antibacterial.” At the slightest sneeze or hint of “the FLU,”** they run to the doctor and ask for antibiotics.
When I was a kid I rarely went to the doctor. I had all the usual illnesses that a 50’s kid had and the accompanying vaccines. As today, kids in school catch whatever is going around. As I remember, I didn’t stay home much because I was sick. Today, I am thankful to my Mom for NOT taking me to the doctor every time I sneezed…, like some kids I knew. I totally believe that because I was not raised to be a “germ weenie,” my resistance to illness is far better.
Doctors are courted by the drug industry and offered the latest new pills, many of them antibiotics. With the pressure to see as many patients as they can, often the simplest thing is to pat the patient on the head, write a script for antibiotics and send them on their way in the allotted 15 minutes. But antibiotics don’t cure every condition.
When is it appropriate to use antibiotics?
Antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and some kinds of parasites. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses. The chart shows common illnesses and whether they’re caused by bacteria or viruses. Taking an antibiotic when you have a viral infection won’t make you feel better — and can contribute to antibiotic resistance.
|Bacterial infections||Viral infections|
(Source: Mayo Clinic)