Save yourself time and money at the doctor's office by knowing when to take antibiotics

A recent study shows physicians will prescribe you antibiotics, even if they know it won't make you feel better any faster. Doctors say several common infections do not require antibiotics, but people continue to take them. The question is; when is it a good time to break out the antibiotics? Strep throat- Requires antibiotics because it's a bacterial infection. Before you run to your doctor for the drugs, consider that only a tiny portion of sore throats are actually strep throat. Make sure your doctor makes the right diagnosis based on a physical exam and lab test. Bronchitis- Does not usually need to be treated with antibiotics, but doctors say there are exceptions. Patients with emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may receive antibiotics since they are more susceptible to developing secondary bacterial infections. Ear infections- Let your doctor be the judge. Ear infections can either be caused by viruses or bacteria. Have your doctor take a culture of your ear fluid to determine which one it is. Pneumonia- It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or even fungi. A doctor can identify the cause and treat it accordingly with either antibiotics or antiviral medications. Sinus Infection- It can either be bacterial, viral or fungal, or due to allergies. Most sinus infections are caused by viruses and therefore do not require antibiotics, but if the symptoms are severe or persistent, antibiotics may be prescribed. Keep in mind NEVER to share or take leftover medication for a new infection.
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