What’s Up (With All Those Antibiotics), Doc?
The numbers are staggering: 23,000 Americans die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Why? According to a new study, 60% of the time docs prescribe antibiotics, they pick “broad- spectrum” drugs that kill the body’s bad bacteria (causing the infection) and its good. Result: All the bacteria may turn into Godzilla-strength supermicrobes that antibiotics can’t kill. Worse, 25% of scripts for antibiotics aren’t even necessary, because the offending infection is viral—and viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. “When prescribed an antibiotic, you should ask the doctor if it’s really needed, and, if so, if it’s the best for the infection you have,” says University of Utah study head Adam Hersh, M.D., Ph.D.
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