After flying from Long Beach, California, to New York City in 1938, Douglas Corrigan filed a flight plan to head back to California. When he landed in Ireland, he also landed the nickname “Wrong Way.” He blamed the navigational error on low light and cloud cover that caused him to misread his compass. That may seem amusing, but heading off in the wrong direction can have serious consequences. That’s why we want you and your doc to get your directions straight when it comes to using antibiotics.
In 2011, over 262 million outpatient antibiotic prescriptions were dispensed, and about 30 percent of them -- that’s 78.6 million -- were what researchers in a new JAMA study are calling “inappropriate.” That’s one reason antibiotic resistance is growing, and so is the possibility that more folks will die from once-curable and newly-drug-resistant infections.
The most common outpatient maladies that are MIStreated with antibiotics are sinusitis, ear infections and sore throats. So what can YOU do to avoid being a “Wrong Way” Corrigan and taking unnecessary antibiotics?
1. Understand that antibiotics work only against bacterial infections. Ask your doctor if you can wait to start treatment until you determine if your malady is bacterial, viral or something else altogether. If you shouldn’t wait, still have that determination made.
2. Don’t ask for antibiotics if your doctor hasn’t suggested them. He or she may capitulate, promoting unnecessary use.
3. Always discuss ALL treatment options with your doc (including “wait and see”) before deciding on a course of treatment.
Now you’re flying right.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.