Antibiotics can be miracle drugs and remarkably safe. However, they are not without risks. In fact, antibiotics are responsible for almost 1 of 5 emergency room visits related to medication use. Annually, there are more than 140,000 emergency department visits for reactions to antibiotics.
Allergic reactions are responsible for about 80% of these reactions. Mild rashes to severe allergic reactions are reported with antibiotic use. Antibiotics may also cause diarrhea.
One way to reduce the number of reactions to antibiotics is to use them when we need them.
For example, there is a 1 in 1,000 chance a patient will require a visit to the emergency room for an antibiotic adverse event, there is a 1 in 4,000 chance an antibiotic will prevent a serious complication from an upper respiratory tract infection.
What you can do:
Don’t take antibiotics when it is likely a viral infection
Take antibiotics exactly how your health care professional says
Don’t take antibiotics, unless they are prescribed for you