Antibiotics: Not As Helpful As You Think

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If you're using antibiotics to help your sinuses you may be wasting your time. A new study shows antibiotics are being over-prescribed.

"Since the antibiotic era started we found that we save lives with antibiotics so that over many generations has led to the point where we really believe in antibiotics, we've seen the effects," Dr. Rebecca Shadowen said.

Now studies show that not only are antibiotics not as effective for many illnesses especially sinus infections they can have negative long-term effects.

"A common antibiotic such as Penicillin can be ineffective for strep throat of staff infections where they were developed to treat because our bodies have been exposed to so many of them already and our natural bacteria now know how to resist them," Dr. Shadowen said.

Doctor Shadowen also said eventually almost everyone could have resistance against antibiotics. So why are doctors prescribing them?

"Physicians really want to please their patients," Dr. Shadowen said.

Doctor Shadowen also said most patients have the expectation that when they see their doctor they will always get a prescription.

"To take the time to explain to a patient, you don't need antibiotics now, even though I know you have a fever, I know you feel badly and I know you have a headache, is difficult to do. Even though if we do, the patient may leave disappointed," Dr. Shadowen said.

Doctors are also starting to move away from prescribing antibiotics as much, but Dr. Shadowen said patients need to understand prescription medication doesn't heal all.

"You should use some saline spray, decongestants over-the-counter, antihistamines over-the-counter to try to dry and drain the sinuses," Dr. Shadowen said.

And the results...

"That results in resolution in all studies that 98 percent of people's symptoms with in a week of treatment," Dr. Shadowen said.

Doctor Shadowen said patients also need to realize illnesses like sinus infections don't heal overnight. She said to expect an acute sinus infection to last about four weeks and a chronic sinus infection to last a few months.

For more information on the overuse of antibiotics, click here.