Rising Kashmir NewsSrinagar:
Doctors in Kashmir valley prescribe antibiotics to treat swine flu patients even though the flu is caused by a virus against which the antibiotics have no effect, Doctors Association Kashmir led by Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan said on Thursday.
In a statement, Dr Nisar said swine flu is a viral infection that cannot be treated with antibiotics. “Despite (sic) antibiotics do not work against flu, clinicians continue to dole out unnecessary antibiotics for flu patients,” he said.
“You go to a doctor with runny nose, sore throat or cough, you will walk away with a prescription for antibiotics,” Dr Nisar said.
He said some patients with flu symptoms themselves ask doctors for antibiotics. “They have a misconception that antibiotics help to get over flu more quickly.”
He said use of antibiotics for flu is not only inappropriate but also puts patients at risk for antibiotic-resistant infections. “Not only the improper use has helped the microbes to evolve into resistant bugs, but patients are needlessly put at risk of serious adverse effects of antibiotics,” he said.
Dr Nisar added that misuse of antibiotics wipes out body’s good bacteria,which contributes to the rise in chronic conditions like obesity, asthma and cancer.
He said while antiviral medications provide life-saving benefits to flu patients, “they are not used”.
He said antiviral drugs prevent the risk of serious complications and reduce deaths.“A large meta-analysis showed that early treatment with antiviral medications reduced the risk of death by 60 percent,” Dr Nisar said.
He said antivirals shorten the duration of illness and make flu milder. “Treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that can result in a hospital stay,” he said.
“Flu antivirals work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful,” he said.
“With increase in number of cases and five deaths in Kashmir so far due to swine flu, antiviral medications are an important weapon to fight this season’s flu which is shaping up to be harsh,” Dr Nisar said.