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Rest more beneficial than antibiotics, in most cases
October 29, 2017, 3:25 pm
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While antibiotics are crucial in treating infections such as those caused by of sepsis, pneumonia, bacterial meningitis and other diseases, nearly a fifth of all antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary as many illnesses get better on their own, say public health authorities.

Coughs or bronchitis can take up to three weeks to clear on their own, and antibiotics reduce that by only one to two days. Health officials recommend that rather than prescribing antibiotics for many common ailments, doctors should ask patients to go home and take rest.

Experts point out that the majority of people will get infections from time to time and will recover because of their own immunity. For infections that our body can handle, many doctors now advice taking rest, drinking plenty of fluids and, if needed, using a mild pain or discomfort reliever such as paracetamol.

Overusing antibiotics is making infections harder to treat by creating drug-resistant superbugs. By 2050, it is estimated that drug-resistant infections around the world could kill more people than currently die from cancer.

Bacteria are incredibly versatile and over time they find ways of adapting and becoming immune to the antibiotics being used against them. People in many places around the world are increasingly dying from bacterial infections that are resistant to all known antibiotics.

If the drugs fail, then not only do infections become harder to treat, but many medical procedures, such as caesarean sections and cancer treatments, which require antibiotics to ensure safe care of patients could become too risky. Researchers in the UK point out that a decade ago antibiotic resistant bacteria were identified in two or four cases per year; last year there were 2,000 such cases.

 

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