Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



									When are antibiotics needed?                                 What can I do when
Your general practitioner is the best person to advise
                                                             antibiotics are not required?
on the use of antibiotics, depending on the cause of
your illness.
                                                                  Get plenty of rest.

Here are some basic guidelines.
Coughs and Bronchitis                                             Drink seven - eight glasses of water each day.
• In most cases, coughs and bronchitis are caused
  by viruses and rarely need antibiotics.
                                                                  Avoid cigarettes or smoky environments.               Do they always help?
• Coughs that produce yellow or green phlegm rarely               Regular paracetamol in correct doses may
  need antibiotics.                                               relieve aches and reduce fever.
Colds and Flu                                                     Inhalations may be used to help reduce congestion.
• Colds and flu are caused by viruses and can last                (Steam inhalations are not recommended for
  for two weeks or more.
• Antibiotics have no effect on these infections.
• Yellow or greenish coloured mucus in the nose does              Saline nasal sprays can help clear mucus.
  not necessarily mean antibiotics are needed.
                                                                  Check with your general practitioner or pharmacist
Sore throats                                                      to see if a decongestant or other medication may
• A virus usually causes a sore throat that is                    be helpful.
  accompanied by a cold or cough.
• A strep throat (diagnosed by a laboratory test)
  can be treated with antibiotics.                           If your illness worsens or continues for
                                                             more than two weeks see your general
Sinus infections                                             practitioner.
• Many symptoms of sinus infections are similar to
   the symptoms of a cold.
• Symptoms that last less than two weeks are more
   than likely to be caused by a virus.
• Antibiotics may be prescribed by your general                                                                        Antibiotics used appropriately can stop
   practitioner for severe sinus infections that last more                                                                    infections and save lives.
   than two weeks.                                                                                                      When used inappropriately they can
                                                                   Further copies can be obtained from:                      do more harm than good.
Ear Infections                                                      Quality Use of Medicines Program
                                                                  Drug & Alcohol Services South Australia              Protect yourself and your community
• A few ear infections may require antibiotics.                              Tel: 8274 3431                            by knowing when to use antibiotics and
• Most people will be free of pain within 24 hours                                                                              when to avoid them.
  without the use of antibiotics.
• If symptoms persist for more than 24 to 72 hours
  (depending on age) your general practitioner may
  prescribe antibiotics.
Antibiotics are among the most valuable                              What can be done about                                                     Do antibiotics cure all
medicines known. However, as a society
we use them far too frequently when
                                                                     resistant bacteria?                                                        infections?
they are not required. This helps
                                                                     The occurrence of resistance cannot be stopped, but
antibiotic resistant bacteria to flourish
                                                                     the development and spread can be minimised by:                            Two common types of infection are:
within our community.
                                                                     • only using antibiotics when absolutely necessary                         • Viral
                                                                     • knowing what sort of illnesses respond to antibiotics                                 -       antibiotics have no effect on viral infections
What is antibiotic resistance?                                       • understanding recovery from many infections will                                      -       viruses cause all types of flu and colds, and
                                                                       occur within the same time frame, with or without                                             most coughs and sore throats
• Antibiotics are used to destroy bacteria, however
  sometimes certain bacteria survive, adapt, grow                      antibiotics.                                                                          -       recovery from viral infections will happen
  and multiply.                                                                                                                                                      within the same number of days with or
                                                                                                                                                                     without antibiotics.

                                                             % Drug-resistant bacteria in Colorado USA
• These bacteria are called resistant because they
  develop an ability to resist the effects of some                                                       14
  antibiotics.                                                                                           12                                     • Bacterial
                                                                                                         10                                                  -       bacterial infections can usually be cured with
                                                                                                                                                                     antibiotics, either by killing the bacteria or
                                                                                                                                                                     stopping their growth
Is antibiotic resistance a                                                                               4
                                                                                                                                                             -       recovery from some bacterial infections can
                                                                                                                                                                     happen within the same number of days,
serious problem?                                                                                         2                                                           even without antibiotics.
YES…                                                                                                                                                100
                                                                                                         1955   1965   1975   1985   1995
• Every time antibiotics are used the chance of
  bacteria developing resistance increases.
• Different antibiotics are often needed to treat                                                                                                           60

                                                                                                                                            % of patients
  resistant bacteria.
• Some resistant bacteria are untreatable.
• Resistance can spread to family members and the                                                                                                           20
• Antibiotic resistance is escalating as society increases                                                                                                       0      2    4     6   8 10 12         14    16   18
  antibiotic use.                                                                                                                                                                  Days with cough
• Antibiotics are becoming less effective at fighting                                                                                                                                           No antibiotics
  infections.                                                                                                                                                                                  With antibiotics

To top