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Today I heard a story on NPR about a new “superbug” that caused ear infections in children that were resistant to all currently recommended antibiotics used to treat this infection. This reminded me that antibiotics are being over used. This is, in part, due to physicians who aren’t being careful enough to use them only when clinically indicated and, in part, due to patients who request (or demand) antibiotic treatment for what is most likely a viral upper respiratory infection. Antibiotics cause resistant strains of bacteria to emerge by killing off strains that are susceptible, thereby allowing resistant bugs that emerge over time to proliferate.

So, health care providers, please resist the use of antibiotics unless they are truly needed and patients be a little more reticent to take antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection, since over 90% of them are viral and, thus, don’t respond to antibiotic treatment.

This is one way to be an “e patient”, knowledgeable, empowered, and taking control of your own health care!

Your comments are always welcome…