It's "Get Smart About Antibiotics" Week, and doctors in Arizona and across the nation are trying to get the word out that people don't need antibiotics every time they get the sniffles or a sore throat. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say overuse of antibiotics is causing resistant bacteria to multiply and make people sicker. Infectious-disease specialist Dr. Gail Reid says many people don't realize how dangerous it can be to misuse antibiotics. She says sometimes people don't finish their medications and then try to use them when they have already expired.
"Not only may it not work or be effective, it may actually cause bad side effects. Certain tetracyclides, if they are out of date and you use them, you can have serious complications."
Dr. Reid says if your doctor says you do need antibiotics, be sure to tell him or her about all the medications you take. A woman could end up pregnant after treatment for a urinary tract infection.
"Most of the time when people prescribe Cipro or one of its relatives, they probably don't ask the young woman whether she's on birth control. And it actually can impair the function or efficacy of their birth control."
Dr. Reid says people don't need to look for antibiotics for most sore throats, colds and even bronchitis. They usually go away on their own. The C-D-C says overuse of antibiotics in farm animals also contributes to the proliferation of so-called "superbugs."