What’s Got You Sick – Virus or Bacteria?
November 17, 2019
Article by: Karen Wolf, Infection Control Nurse
There is a growing concern in healthcare regarding the overuse or misuse of antibiotics.
Haskell Memorial Hospital has initiated an Antibiotic Stewardship program to address this concern and to do our part in providing the best care possible for our patients. Community awareness and education are an important part of our program.
Imagine, if you will, you are feeling bad with symptoms that might include a runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat and possibly cough and congestion. So you go to visit your healthcare provider and are told that your symptoms are associated with a viral infection. You are given recommendations such as increasing fluid intake and to rest, or possibly a nasal spray or use of a vaporizer, or using honey to relieve a cough. You are instructed to return for a re-check if your symptoms worsen or are not improved in a week. Do you wonder why your provider did not give you a prescription for antibiotic medication?
Antibiotics DO NOT cure viral infections, and using un-needed antibiotics can do more harm than good. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause even the most powerful antibiotics to become ineffective. There is an alarming rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that, in the U.S. alone, cause 23,000 deaths each year.
If your healthcare provider tells you your symptoms indicate a viral infection and you are given treatment that does not include the use of antibiotics, you should now understand the reasoning behind their choice of treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider and ask questions you may have regarding the use of antibiotics – they are ready and willing to address your concerns.
For more information on antibiotic prescribing and use, visit: www.cdc.gov/antibiotic or call the Hospital Clinic at 940.864.8513.
 CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published online Aug 21, 2015