Determining whether or not you really need an antibiotic is difficult. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, including sinus infections, urinary tract infections and strep throat. It is important to understand that antibiotics will not treat viral or fungal infections. These infections are treated with antiviral formulas and antifungal formulas.
When a doctor is determining whether an antibiotic is needed, they will take several things into consideration. This is because bacteria can mutate and become resistant to antibiotics over time. When bacteria become resistant to certain antibiotics, other medications may need to be given intravenously. To help prevent mutations and resistances from occurring, physicians consider the following before prescribing antibiotics.
Length of Sickness
Many times, a physician will wait to administer antibiotics. This gives the body’s own natural immune system an opportunity to fight off the infection. When the body is allowed to fight off an infection, the body builds up antibodies to prevent further infections of the same bacteria. If your body is not effectively fighting off the infection after a few days or a week, an antibiotic may be ordered.
Viruses cannot be effectively treated with antibiotics. Therefore, it is essential that the physician determine the exact type of infection that you are suffering with. There are a variety of tests that can be used to determine the type of infection. For example, a throat culture can be taken if the physician suspects strep throat. A nose swab can be used to determine if you are suffering from a viral infection, such as the flu. These cultures are sent to a lab to be grown so that they can be looked at under a microscope to determine if the infection is caused by a virus or a bacterium.
The color of your mucus can tell a lot about the type of infection you have. Nasal secretions that are thin and clear are caused by a viral infection. If the color of your mucus is green or yellow, it can be a sign of a bacterial infection. However, you must be careful because some viral infections can cause a green discharge.
Fevers are present in both bacterial and viral infections. Therefore, this is not a good way of determining whether you need an antibiotic. A fever simply says that there is a foreign invader in the body. When a fever is present, the doctor will weigh the likelihood of the flu by looking at the number of flu cases in the area.When you are sick, your physician will consider several things before prescribing an antibiotic. This includes taking cultures, looking at your symptoms and the color of your mucus. At times, the physician will use a quick test culture to determine if your illness is caused by a bacteria or virus. If the quick test comes back negative, it will be sent off to the laboratory for further testing. To learn more about antibiotics, you can check out CNN’s article titled “When You Need Antibiotics – and When You Don’t.