President's prescription

Published: Mar. 5, 2013 at 10:45 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2014 at 3:09 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Ever wonder why your doctor doesn't prescribe antibiotics to help you get over a cough or the sniffles? It's because antibiotics just can't cure the common cold or the flu, in fact, that's when antibiotics may do more harm than good. And that's the subject this week for Dr. Tedd Mitchell. He's the president of the Texas Tech University health sciences center. And this is the president's prescription.

"Our environment is crawling with millions of bacteria. And although germs can cause disease, they also help our immune systems fight bacterial and viral infections. The American academy of physician assistants recently partnered with the centers for disease control and prevention to inform the public about antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic use. Antibiotics cure bacterial infections like strep throat or pneumonia, not viral infections like a cold or the flu. In fact, taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment, said Dr. Mitchell.

Mitchell also says "If your doctor prescribes you antibiotics for a bacterial infection, take the medication until it is gone. Throwing the medicine out or saving it for later just allows the bacteria another opportunity to develop antibiotic resistance. Other methods are available to treat viral infections, but the best defense is a good offense. Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of disease."

 Copyright 2013 KCBD. All rights reserved.