Antibiotics aren’t always the answer…
World Antibiotic Awareness week from the 13th till the 19th of November serves as a reminder to us all (both patients and doctors) to focus on the reasonable prescription of antibiotics, preventing antibiotic related complications and being aware of antibiotic resistance.
For this reason, I have focussed on a diagnosis that is of the most frequent conditions incorrectly treated with antibiotics: Acute bronchitis.
Acute bronchitis is classified as a lower airway infection that causes a cough for less than 3 weeks and does not fulfil criteria for pneumonia.
What I’ve noticed in practice is that patients become distressed when a cough lasts longer than a few days. A viral bronchitis typically lasts at least 5 days and can go on for 1 to 2 weeks. This is with or without phlegm production.
Many patients have the expectation to receive an antibiotic when they present to the doctor for a cough. This is best managed by appropriate patient education where the risks and benefits of using an antibiotic are discussed with the patient. Mostly, the risks will outweigh the benefits.
Most patients with acute bronchitis recover without antibiotics within 1 to 3 weeks and do not need follow-up.
The reasons to consult a doctor for possible antibiotic prescription for a cough are: High fevers, difficulty breathing, bloody phlegm or if your cough lasts longer than 3-4 weeks.
Dr. Sonia Hough is the newest member of The Health Team. She brings with her many years of experience in private emergency medicine and is excited to be working full time at the practice in Mouille Point.