Do You Really Need an Antibiotic?

March 22, 2016

“Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them can do more harm than good,” says Jesse Van Heukelom, MD, board-certified pediatrician with HRMC Physicians Clinic.

“Overuse of antibiotics can increase your risk of getting an antibiotic-resistant infection, as well as wipe out good bacteria in the body that protect you from other illnesses.”

Before requesting antibiotics, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Antibiotics will not cure or reduce symptoms of a viral infection, including a cold and influenza. Ask your physician about the best treatment options for your symptoms.
  • When prescribed antibiotics, take all of the medication, without skipping doses or stopping your medication once you feel better. Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else or for another medical condition.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about antibiotic resistance, and ask if an antibiotic will really help you feel better sooner.

“To prevent getting sick in the first place, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face,” says Dr. Jesse. “Always wash your hands before eating, after coughing or sneezing, and after using the bathroom.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Jesse, call the HRMC Physicians Clinic at 605-353-7660.

For a printable guide for parents on when to use antibiotics published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), click here.

Dr. Jesse Van Heukelom