Since we are in the cold season, it's be a good time to consider the topic of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics are an effective treatment for bacterial infections. They are not helpful in treating viral infections like the common cold.
There are several reasons it is important not to treat a viral infection with antibiotics.
First, it is possible that a person will have an allergic or other severe reaction to an antibiotic.
Second, treating viral infections with antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance. When antibiotics are used too frequently, the bacteria which cause serious infections can become resistant to antibiotics.
It is important not to overuse antibiotics, so that they will work when we have a serious bacterial infection.
If your health provider has not prescribed an antibiotic for your illness, it is because they think your infection is viral, not bacterial. It is not a decision based on the severity of your illness.
So, if you see your health provider this winter and don't get a prescription for antibiotics, don't be disappointed. They are looking out for you.
Dr. Sean Duffy practices medicine at Family Medical Center, 1120 W. Rose St.