You fill the prescription, pop the pill, and never think twice about it. After all, you are sick. And your doc has promised that this will make you feel better.
But before you take those antibiotics, take a coin out of your pocket and toss it in the air. Because the odds that you actually NEED the drugs are almost the same as that coin coming up heads.
New research confirms, yet again, that doctors continue to dish out these drugs even when they’re clearly not needed.
The analysis of close to 300 million prescription drug records finds that 45 percent have no medical basis. NONE. In some cases, they were prescribed over the phone, without even SEEING a patient, much less testing for bacteria.
So today, let’s do what they can’t… what they WON’T… what they’ve so far REFUSED to do. Let’s find a way out of this mess.
How unnecessary antibiotics can harm YOU
The problem with taking unneeded antibiotics isn’t just that it’s a waste of money. And it’s not just a matter of facing immediate side effects, like diarrhea, either.
There’s a FAR bigger issue. One, I’m sure you’ve heard about plenty (especially if you’re a regular Healthier Talk reader).
The more we overuse antibiotics, the more the germs learn to resist them. And as they learn to resist them, the drugs start to fail. In other words, those germs could turn into killers.
We’re already facing dangerous and sometimes deadly “superbug” forms of pneumonia, MRSA, C-diff, and more. In fact, there are now two million superbug infections and 23,000 deaths every year from them in the United States alone.
That almost half of these prescriptions are unneeded isn’t just a problem for society as a whole, either. It’s a problem for YOU.
See, these dangerous bugs are out there right now. They might even be in your body at this very moment, but unable to make you sick because your overall gut microbiome is keeping them under control.
But when you take an antibiotic, you wipe out those friendly bacteria, and the superbug takes over. That’s why so many cases of C-diff, for example, strike almost immediately after a course of antibiotics, especially in seniors.
So whenever you’re hit with any of the following conditions, be sure to question whether an antibiotic will be helpful or harmful.
Hint, it’s almost ALWAYS harmful in the long run…
Sore throat: An achy throat alone is rarely a reason for antibiotics. One study found 60 percent of adults with sore throat were given the drugs, but only 10 percent needed them.
Acute bronchitis: Bronchitis is almost always viral. In other words, antibiotics have NO effect on those cases. Yet another study found up to 71 percent of adults get the drugs for it.
Cold/flu/cough: These viral conditions should NEVER be treated with antibiotics, period.
Make drugs your SECOND choice
There’s another antibiotic myth, especially when it comes to respiratory infections, that we should clear up right now too. According to the legend, if your mucus is a certain color, say yellow or green, it means the infection is bacterial, and you need the drugs.
NOPE, not true. You can’t diagnose a bacterial infection by mucus color alone. Plus, even many bacterial infections don’t always need antibiotics. UTIs, for example, often respond to natural therapies, including d-mannose or sugar-free cranberry extract.
These natural approaches don’t attack the germs, which means, unlike with antibiotics, bacterial resistance isn’t a side effect you need to worry about. Instead, they make it difficult for the bugs to stick to the bladder walls. And when they don’t stick, they get “flushed” out.
For milder infections, ask your doctor if these and other natural therapies might help you. Or if you can take a wait-and-see approach to give your immune system a chance to clear it out.
And if you DO need the drugs, of course, take them, but follow it up with a probiotic to help restore balance.