‘A Viral Can be Treated by an Antibiotic’: Myths Debunked

How often have you popped antibiotics when you simply had a viral infection? Do you complete your course of antibiotics as ordered by the doctor?

As the world faces down post antibiotic era when antibiotics will no longer be effective against infection, we’ve got Prof Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of Centre for Disease, Dynamics, Economics and Policy, and a research scholar from Princeton University to bust some of the most common myths associated with antibiotics.

#Myth One:

Please always complete your course of antibiotics, because chances are the infection will come back stronger and more resistant. Now there is a chance that perhaps you were given a course of antibiotics when it was not needed, but that is for experts to decide.

Also avoid keeping antibiotics in partial courses at home. Temptation will be to have them next time you are sick, and that is not a good idea.

There is an academic debate going on about not completing your course of antibiotics, but it is really at an academic level.

What helps is that the courses are also becoming shorter so it’s not difficult to follow through.

#Myth Two:

Antibiotic resistance is not us humans becoming resistant to antibiotics, but the bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.

The infection is caused by bacteria and over use of antibiotics makes the bacteria resistant. Overtime there is only resistant bacteria in the air and it becomes difficult to treat the infection.

#Myth Three:

All drugs have something called a placebo effect. The placebo effect is basically that if we belief the drug will work, it does a lot for us. In fact the effectiveness of the power of mind in healing ourselves is larger than the drug. We run placebo run trials where one set of patients are given actual drugs and the other set a placebo or a sugar pill. Next time you have a cold or viral infection just pop a sugar pill.

#Myth Four:

I wish it were true that, if we didn’t take antibiotics we would not be affected by resistance. This is like climate change. I can leave a large carbon footprint and be irresponsible, but you will suffer the consequences. We all are in it together.

Editor: Puneet Bhatia

Camera: Abhay Sharma

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