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Kentucky ranks second in increasingly unnecessary prescription of antibiotics

The next time you ask your doctor for an antibiotic, or if he or she offers to give you one, think again. It may not only do your health no good, but it could be bad for overall public health. Every time an antibiotic is used, future effectiveness of that drug is diminished, but Kentuckians take antibiotics at the second-highest rate in the country, with 1,205 prescriptions per 1,000 people according to a study by the Centers for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy. Only West Virginia had a higher rate, 1,214 per 1,000. Studies show 1 million antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily every year.

One good way of determining if an antibiotic is right for you is to examine whether you're suffering a viral or bacterial infection. Both the common cold (rhinovirus) and flu (influenza) are caused by viruses, which antibiotics are completely useless against. If your immune system is compromised, an antibiotic may be prescribed to prevent a complicating second infection, but is otherwise usually unnecessary.

Of course, do not take or discontinue taking any medication without consulting a physician.

Filed under: Health care | Around the region


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