Doctors Warn of Hazard of Antibiotic Resistant Infections

Bismarck - With cold and flu season right around the corner, if you start feeling sick, your first trip might be to the doctor.

But what they prescribe when you get there might surprise you.

When you have a cold, you might get straight to work treating your symptoms.

But there's an important difference between a viral infection and a bacterial one, the course of treatment.

"Things like antibiotics don't work against viruses so what you could actually be doing is potentially causing more harm than good," Michelle Feist, North Dakota Department of Health says.

Why? 

According to the World Health Organization, there's a lack of new antibiotics that can treat antibiotic resistant infections. 

"It doesn't kill it, so now that bacteria is able to grow and multiply, it can cause maybe even some more severe disease and can be harder to treat," Feist says.

World wide, infections like tuberculosis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and Gonorrhea have been found to be antibiotic resistant.

"There are some bacteria out there that are circulating that are resistant to some antibiotics that are sometimes our last resort antibiotics and so if you get this type of infection there's fewer ways to treat it," Feist says.

Some doctors are taking action and their first line of defense against antibiotic resistance is educating their patients.

"There's a big push in today's environment to not prescribe antibiotics," Stephanie Canham, Sanford Health Internal Medicine Physician says.

Because prescribing them isn't always the best option.

"It's good to teach them what exactly could be the cause of the symptoms, and why what they're taking is not going to help them and how it could actually harm them," Canham says.

Canham says when patients come to the doctor they might not always leave with a prescription.

"We need to do our due diligence and not just put a band aid on things and prescribe the antibiotic. You know a lot of patients come in and they want them but it's not indicated," Canham says.

To keep the antibiotics we have doing their job.

Health officials say when it comes to the common cold or flu you should skip antibiotics altogether.

Never take antibiotics that have not been prescribed to you and always finish the entire course of antibiotics you do receive.

If you feel any negative reactions to antibiotics contact your doctor for help.


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