In America alone, a number of cases of URIs, otitis media, sinusitis, pharyngitis, and acute bronchitis are diagnosed every year. Accordingly, a number of prescriptions are written to cure these disorders. According to studies conducted on the subject, around 70 percent of children and adults receive unnecessary antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis every year. In spite of an abundance of literature recommending the non-use of antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis, clinical studies reveal records of physicians prescribing antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis.
Experts on infectious diseases say that the number of patients showing resistance to antibiotics is on the rise as a result of this unnecessary use of antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis. If this practise continues, people all over the world will face serious medical problems.
There is a vast difference between acute bronchitis and COPD. Antibiotics are often used to treat the latter condition. Using antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis is not recommended because many cases of acute bronchitis are viral. Purulent sputum, a characteristic of viral bronchitis, provides ample proof that the condition is definitely viral in nature and is not bacterial. When the right treatment, support, and care is given, acute bronchitis lasts only for a maximum of seven days. In case of symptoms worsening after seven days, the use of antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis is permitted even though it is still considered non-viral.
The use of antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis is not required in all cases. However, some cases, such as the following, have to use antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis:
1. If cough persists, patients might have to use antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis. Only a fraction of patients suffering from viral bronchitis develop long-lasting cough. Antibiotics can be used even if the use of bronchodilators for 48 hours does not cause any relief. Bacteria causing persistent cough are mycoplasm pneumoniae, chlamydia pneumoniae, and bordetella pertussis. All three are easily destroyed by antibiotics such as macrolide. Azithromycin is usually prescribed because it has fewer side effects than erythromycin. You will have to take a five-day course of azithromycin, which will cost you $38.
2. If the symptoms of bronchitis is aggravating, the patients must be re-examined to determine if there is any bacterial infection. Usually, acute bronchitis is virus-caused and it disappears after a week. However, if you are getting worse instead of better, you need to consult your doctor at once.
3. Patients with cystic fibrosis are usually infected by staphylococcus aureus, also known as gram negative bacteria, and therefore, require antibiotics. COPD patients often require antibiotic therapy to treat streptococcus pneumoniae and haemophilus influenzae.
4. An outbreak of viral influenza can complicate the treatment of acute bronchitis. It is during the flue season that adults usually suffer from bacterial complications. If your condition gets worse instead of disappearing after 7-10 days, you will have to use antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis.
Other than these four exceptions, on no other account should antibiotics be prescribed to treat acute bronchitis.
The patient has to be educated about using antibiotics to treat acute bronchitis. Often patients do not know anything about antibiotic use. Since medical practitioners have the required expertise in this regard, they should take it upon themselves to educate the public about the right use of antibiotics. Patients should know that antibiotics are not required for all illnesses. Once they know, they will not ask a doctor for antibiotics unless it is absolutely essential.
Patients should not expect antibiotic prescriptions whenever they visit a doctor. You medical expenses will be cut down if your treatment plan does not include antibiotics. You can use those savings to purchase vitamins or nutritional supplements that make your body vital enough to withstand bacterial infections that lead to conditions such as acute bronchitis.