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Viruses, bacteria and me: A short rant

I hope you all had a happy holiday, that the new year is treating you well and that you did not catch that virus that felled my whole family, starting on Christmas and still has, an albeit dimensioning, hold. And now you know why there hasn't been a lot of action on FairerScience lately.

This seemed like a good time to remind everyone that ANTIBIOTICS DON'T WORK ON VIRUSES. Really! Indeed the Center for Disease Control has a whole series "Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work."

It points out:

Antibiotics cure bacterial infections, not viral infections such as:
* Colds or flu;
* Most coughs and bronchitis;
* Sore throats not caused by strep; or
* Runny noses.

They even have a video for doctors; "Don't Give In and Give Those Antibiotics!." It gives doctors tips to resist patient pressure to be given antibiotics. It's actually quite good. I laughed at the idea of writing a "prescription" for over the counter products so the patient doesn't leave the office empty handed. Then I got really depressed because there are so many doctors who don't feel comfortable saying "No I'm not going to give you antibiotics because you don't need them and they won't work." that the CDC felt it was necessary to make the video.

So why did this seem to be a good time to write such a post? Well because I 'm on antibiotics (I added a secondary bacterial infection to the mix) but I'm not on the antibiotic that my doctor wanted. Why? BECAUSE THERE ISN'T ANY LEFT in the Boston area. Why? Because we've done a rotten job helping people understand what antibiotics do and don't do and because too many doctors will just give the prescription to make patients happy.