Antibiotics have undoubtedly been a breakthrough for humanity. They are the principal reason that severe coughs, sore throats, and injuries are no longer fatal in most cases. And they have proven easy to make and easy to use, lending an essential convenience to the process of treating infections.
But antibiotics can also be a source of significant trouble for doctors, their patents, and the population at large. When they are prescribed incorrectly – either because they are mis-prescribed, or because they are simply unnecessary – then patient illness and symptoms can worsen even as the world’s resistance to antibiotics rises worldwide.
Recently the Journal of the American Medical Association published a groundbreaking study about the misprescription of antibiotics. Mis-prescription refers to giving patients the wrong medication for what ails them, and it may be more common than many people thought. JAMA estimates that for ear and sinus infections, mistakes such as these could occur as much as half the time.
The CDC has sounded the alarm on this issue, recently releasing a report that strongly encourages better guidelines, oversight, and education surrounding the use of antibiotics in clinical settings.
But the role of otolaryngologists, or ENTs, such as myself cannot be overlooked here. As the front line against sinus and ear infections, we make the majority of these costly errors, resulting in many millions of dollars wasted in medical care each year. The solution is to slow down, and engage effective continuing education (CE) courses to ensure that all doctors have the latest knowledge and best practices at their fingertips.
How can you help? Remember that most ear and sinus symptoms will resolve within a couple of weeks. Remember, too, that not all sinus infections are bacterial. If you aren’t unusually prone to sinus infection, it’s wise to take a wait-and-see approach before you visit your Los Angeles ENT.
The LA Sinus Institute is committed to better decision-making and smarter antibiotic use throughout the nation. For the best sinus care in Los Angeles, we urge you to stick with deeply credentialed physicians who can help you safely.