Doctors also get sick; keep the antibiotics away from me

This Fall season has not been very kind to me – 2nd respiratory infection in 2 months.  This one has me coughing up very pleasantly tasting bits of mucus into the back of my throat.  Most annoying is the fact that any colds I get tend to exacerbate my asthma.  All I’m using is an inhaler, which I normally never need, but it sure helps with the cough. 

It’s amusing to hear the response by both healthcare professionals and laypersons to a doctor being ill.  Of course, everyone feels that an antibiotic is a miracle drug (if only they knew!).  I flat out refuse to take an antibiotic for an illness like this – if I’m not bedridden with pneumonia, I’m not sick enough for an antibiotic.  I know they won’t help, and I know I’ll get better no matter what I do. 

Obviously, the human race can exist without antibiotics – it did so for a few years (into the 1940’s when penicillin first becae available) without so much as a blip on the population growth rate (aside from wars, etc.).  Medical historians will most certainly chuckle at the thought of so many people today requesting and receiving antibiotics for these piddly ailments.  It’s actually a frightening situation, with the emergence of antibiotic resistance leaving many antibiotics useless in the setting of certain infections. 

I spend a great deal of effort educating people on the limitations of antibiotics and the consequences of inappropriate prescribing, but so many people just don’t get it.  It may be no fault of their own, but they’ve been taught that antibiotics are the answer to “bad colds” and of course “sinus infections”.  [I think only 1 in 10 people who complain of a “sinus infection” are accurate with their self-diagnosis – though that still doesn’t mean they need an antibiotic]  Stay tuned – this could become a major public health issue in the coming years.

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