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When Can Antibiotics Be Used?

When Can Antibiotics Be Used?

When we’re sick, we want something to make us feel better as quickly as possible. And when someone you love is sick, we’ll do anything to help them feel better. Often, we think antibiotics are the answer and may become frustrated when our providers don’t rush to write us a prescription.

What is an Antibiotic?

The CDC defines antibiotics as “medicines that fight infections caused by bacteria in humans and animals by either killing the bacteria or making it difficult for the bacteria to grow and multiply.”

They treat infections caused by bacteria such as:

  • Strep throat
  • Whooping cough/pertussis
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)

Antibiotics do not treat infections caused by viruses, including:

  • Colds and runny noses
  • Most sore throats
  • Most chest colds, like bronchitis
  • Flu
  • The current COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak

Click here for a printable guide from the CDC: “Viruses or Bacteria: What’s got you sick?”

Why Won’t You Prescribe An Antibiotic?

Your provider will assess and provide the best treatment of illness and will depend on the type of infection or ailment and your medical history. Antibiotics are powerful fighters of bacterial infections such as listed above. Antibiotics do not cure or relieve symptoms of viral conditions. When not used appropriately, they can cause antibiotic resistance.

What is antibiotic resistance?

The CDC states that “antibiotic resistance happens when the germs no longer respond to the antibiotics designed to kill them. ”When a person takes antibiotics too often and/or may have been unnecessarily prescribed to, some antibiotic resistant germs continue to grow.” See CDC’s illustration.

cdc-antibiotic-resistance

When an antibiotic is over-prescribed or taken to treat viruses, it may do more harm than good. What this has done over time is make us resistant to the antibiotics, making them less effective. This is a dangerous situation, as the simple infections that antibiotics used to treat effectively can now become life threatening due to lower overall effectiveness of the drug.

How to get rid of a virus

There is no instant cure for many of today’s viruses. Take care of yourself by drinking plenty of fluids, getting ample rest and taking cold medicine or pain relievers as your provider directs.

We are here to help

If you are feeling sick or concerned about the flu or coronavirus, please call us at 253-848-5951, and our nurses will provide guidance if your ailments can be treated at home, or if you need to come in and see our providers.

If you are concerned about coming into our clinic right now, please know that our staff are highly trained and we have established protocols for identifying, isolating, and caring for patients with symptomatic contagious diseases.

We also have a process established to allow patients to check in from their car in our parking lots, wait there, so you don’t have to sit in our lobby as our providers are finishing up their previous appointments.

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