Feeling frustrated with your GP?
There’s a general level of distaste for GPs and their newfound reluctance to hand out antibiotics prescriptions this year; Mamamia‘s readers have vented in our submissions inbox about the matter, pleading with us to answer ‘WHY WON’T MY GP GIVE ME MEDICATION ANYMORE?’.
We get it – there’s nothing worse than heading to the doctor’s office, only to be sent back home with an instruction to ‘get some rest’ and ‘wait it out’ (with a slightly poorer bank balance to boot).
So answer we shall.
Firstly, if you feel this frustration, the good news is you’re not alone. The bad news is it isn’t going to change.
We caught up with Dr Dasha Fielder of Sapphire Family Medical Practice in Bondi Junction get to the bottom of why doctors are more cautious before handing out antibiotics.
“Antibiotics are really only requiring very, very rarely,” Dr Fielder told Mamamia.
“Ninety-nine per cent of infections that people are calling ‘the flu’ or ‘a cold’ or ‘a chest infection’, are actually viral, which antibiotics have no place in treatment for.”
Yep. You might feel horrid. You might be bed-ridden and have phlegm coming out the wazoo. But the overwhelming likelihood is that you have a viral infection; one that cannot be treated with anything but waiting it out.
Even bronchitis doesn’t require antibiotic medication.
Still, Dr Fielder understands why people feel annoyed when they don’t get a magic solution to relieve them of their symptoms.
“When patients feel sick, they expect that we will give them something to make them feel better,” Dr Fielder told Mamamia. “But a viral infection is not going to last one, two, or three days, but one or two weeks.”
What often happens is people wait seven days, go to another doctor, and are wrongly handed antibiotics. Unfortunately, when their symptoms clear in the next seven days, they wrongly attribute this to the medication, and believe the tablets solved their ailments, when really it was just the viral infection coming to its natural conclusion.
The problem with our inclination to pop antibiotics inappropriately? We’re only making ourselves resistant to those drugs; meaning they could be useless to us when we actually need them, and have a more serious infection like pneumonia.