HEALTH NOTES: Truth or Dare–The hard facts about antibiotics.


An Everyday Battle

At least daily, I’m met one or all of the following medical-decision-making dilemmas:

  1. Patient been sick for five days. He reports blowing mucous out of his nose that is yellow and green in color. “My last doctor gave me a Z-pak (antibiotic), and I got better within a couple of days.” He wants an antibiotic.
  2. Patient has been coughing for a week. She reports the cough feels deep. She wants an antibiotic to “keep this from going into pneumonia.”
  3. Child comes in with fever and irritability for one day. She’s been tugging on her right ear. Her parents want her on an antibiotic.

Do any of these warrant antibiotic therapy? Let’s look at some of the common fallacies about antibiotics and the dire consequences of ignoring the truth.

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