Overusing antibiotics in focus this week

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Health has kicked off its "Get Smart about Antibiotics" Week. This week is intended to bring attention to antibiotic resistance, and the importance of appropriate antibiotic use. Dr. Shane Speights with St. Bernards, said this is not just a state or national problem. This has become an issue all over the world.

"The days when the patient would just come in and ask for a z-pack and the physician would throw them a prescription, those days need to go away," said Speights.

There has been so much antibiotic over use and resistance, that it's becoming a big concern for doctors. Enough to where new guidelines are now in the works.

"A commission is coming out next month with specific guidelines on physician use regarding antibiotics," said Speights.

It takes a serious infection to prescribe an antibiotic. Things like sinus infections, ear infections and strep throat do not need an antibiotic.

"Bacterial infections are what work with antibiotics," said Speights. "Antibiotics do not work on viral infections."

Taking an antibiotic too often will only do your body more harm than good. The bacteria can become resistant to it.

"They learn how to create mechanisms to fight off the drugs," said Speights.

The idea that an antibiotic can cure much quicker than over the counter medication isn't true. Most of the time, those infections will ride its course and your body will cure itself. Speights said there are symptoms you can look for when it comes to knowing your body, and when it's appropriate to use an antibiotic.

"In general you want the symptoms to persist up to ten days," said Speights. You'll also experience high fever and significant pain."

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