Irresistible Antibiotic Acuity: Part I

All That’s Well To Tell  PODCAST Episode Three

How-tos for keeping antibiotics irresistible? Start by testing your antibiotic awareness.

Enjoy the Podcast! (listen to podcast by clicking the play button)


The misuse of antibiotics has landed us smack dab in the middle of a global crisis with multi-drug resistant organisms, aka superbugs.

Think you know how to take antibiotics? How do you know if you are using antibiotics appropriately? A big part of antibiotic resistance is due to the uninformed misuse of antibiotics when people take them. Make sure you know the answers to the following five true or false questions.



Question #1

You can treat the cold or flu with antibiotics. False.

Antibiotics won’t kill a virus. Bacterial and viral illnesses are biologically different. Bacteria are living microorganisms. Viruses need a host – they must “hijack” cells to replicate. The best treatment for most viruses is symptomatic relief.



Question #2

If you’re taking antibiotics and start to feel better, you can stop taking them and save the rest for later. False.

Always finish the full course of antibiotics as prescribed, unless your healthcare provider advises you to stop.

If you have leftover medications, dispose of them properly – not all meds can be flushed.

A recent study revealed that many people believe 1) antibiotic resistance refers to changes in the human body, 2) that they are personally at low risk for antibiotic resistance and 3) fixing the resistance issue is up to healthcare providers. Yikes!

Educate yourself and tell others – finish your antibiotics.



Question #3

If you are sick and your friend offers you antibiotics you should start taking them. False.

Never share prescription medication with anyone, or borrow antibiotics from anybody. Specific bacteria should be treated with specific antibiotics. Taking the wrong antibiotic can lead to drug resistant bacteria.

Even more importantly, there is always the risk of allergic reactions when taking someone else’s medication. Don’t borrow. Don’t lend. Don’t do it!

FDA Preventable Adverse Drug Reactions

NIH Emergency Department Visits for Antibiotic Associated Adverse Events



Question #4

It’s “okay” to drink alcohol when you are taking antibiotics. False.

Some antibiotics can make a person very sick when mixed with alcohol. Metronidazole is a common antibiotic that interacts horribly with alcohol, you also need to wait 72 hours after finishing the drug before ingesting alcohol to prevent reactions. If you are not sure about your medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Even if it is “safe” to have one or two servings of alcohol while taking most antibiotics – alcohol consumption when you are sick shows poor judgment. BTW skipping even one dose of antibiotics because you are tipsy leads to antibiotic resistance.



Question #5

If your mucus is green you need antibiotics. False.

What’s the real meaning of greening? Green mucus is the result of an oxidized enzyme called myeloperoxidase which is released by neutrophils (aka white blood cells) when they encounter a viral or bacterial infection. Just because you are coughing up or blowing out green “goo” does not always mean you have a bacterial infection, or that antibiotics are indicated.

Before you go reaching for that Zpak, visit your healthcare provider.



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Have a happy healthy everything!