Antibiotics


Patients often come to the office for illness and expect or request an antibiotic to help them overcome their symptoms. When indicated, antibiotics are an important part of treatment for bacterial infections. However, most often acute illnesses are viral – which means that antibiotics are not helpful. In fact, using antibiotics when they are not needed can be dangerous.

Common concerns that do not usually require antibiotics include:


Bronchitis (90% of cases are viral)


Signs and symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

  • Coughing that produces mucus (you may not see mucus during the first few days you are sick)
  • Soreness in the chest
  • Fatigue (being tired)
  • Mild headache
  • Mild body aches
  • Fever (usually less than 101 °F)
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore throat
Most symptoms of acute bronchitis last for up to 2 weeks, but the cough can last up to 8 weeks in some people. 

Common Cold


When germs that cause colds first infect the nose and sinuses (air-filled pockets in the face), the nose makes clear mucus. This helps wash the germs from the nose and sinuses. After two or three days, mucus may change to a white, yellow, or green color. This is normal and does not mean you or your child needs antibiotics. Other signs and symptoms of the common cold can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Post-nasal drip (mucus dripping down your throat)
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild headache
  • Mild body aches

These symptoms can last for up to 2 weeks.

 

Sinusitis


In adults, 9 out of 10 cases of sinusitis (sinus infection) are caused by a virus.

Common signs and symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Headache
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Loss of the sense of smell
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Postnasal drip (mucus drips down the throat from the nose)
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue (being tired)
  • Bad breath

Sore Throat


In adults, sore throat is caused by a virus in 9 out of 10 cases. This means that an antibiotic will not help relief symptoms or shorten the course of your illness.


For additional information:

http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/about/index.html


Taking antibiotics when they are not indicated can be dangerous. Serious consequences include drug reaction, increased risk for drug resistant infection, and clostridium difficile – a serious infection caused when antibiotics kill healthy bacteria in your gut.

Our goal is to evaluate and appropriately treat your symptoms. When indicated, antibiotics are potentially lifesaving. However, overuse of antibiotics has become a serious health issue – and we will avoid prescribing treatment when it is inappropriate. 


Stay Cool


As temperature rise, the risk for heat related illnesses also increases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD C) has the following recommendations for staying safe during the summer heat.


The best defense is prevention. Here are some prevention tips:


  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
    • Infants and young children
    • People aged 65 or older
    • People who have a mental illness
    • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
    • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
    • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
    • Try to rest often in shady areas.
    • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

If you must be out in the heat:

  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.asp