Experts say signs and treatment of bacterial infection often
New treatment options available
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TORONTO, Feb. 16 /CNW/ - According to the Canadian Foundation for
Infectious Diseases, antibiotics are the second most frequently
prescribed class of drugs - second only to pain relievers. Yet most
people don't know the difference between a true bacterial infection,
like chronic bronchitis that can be treated with antibiotics — and
viruses like the common cold, which cannot.
"Even though there is a lot of awareness of cold season ailments, people
still don't understand when an antibiotic can actually help and why
it's so important to follow the treatment instructions to the letter,"
explains Dr. Alan Kaplan, M.D. CCFP(EM) FCFP, a family physician
practicing in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and Chairperson of the Family
Physician Airways Group of Canada.
Dr. Kaplan says that infections are caused by bacteria like
streptococcus that can lead to strep throat. Other common bacterial
infections include acute bacterial sinusitis and pneumonia.
Bacteria thrive in many different types of environments and can live
outside the human body for instance on door knobs, keyboards, surfaces
and much more. Some varieties live in extremes of cold or heat, while
others can make their home in the human body, in places like your
intestine, where they help digest food. Most bacteria cause no harm to
people - however certain strains can lead to infections such as
respiratory and urinary tract infections.
Viruses are smaller than bacteria and they require a living host -
people, plants or animals - to multiply. They cannot survive in the
"outside world" like bacteria can. Viruses are the cause of illnesses
such as chicken pox and the common cold.
"A lot of people think that if they have a cold, they need to take
antibiotics and that is not the case," explains Dr. Kaplan.
"Antibiotics are not effective against viruses - but they can kill
bacterial infections. There are a range of new treatments available
that are very effective."
Tackling Bacterial Infection:
If you have persistent fever, cough, sore throat or sinus pain and/or
discharge for more than 4 days, Dr. Kaplan advocates making an
appointment with your doctor to determine if your illness is bacterial
or a virus.
"A lot of the symptoms are similar and it takes a qualified health care
practitioner to determine if antibiotics will help tackle your
illness," says Dr. Kaplan.
"If you are prescribed antibiotics, you will either be given a
traditional course of therapy that may require several days of
treatment - or, if you are suffering from Acute Bacterial Sinusitis,
Chronic Bronchitis or certain forms of pneumonia, your physician may
prescribe a new antibiotic available in a single dose," says
Whichever form of treatment, it is critical that you follow the
instructions for treatment to the letter, advises Dr. Kaplan, adding
that improper use of antibiotics is a contributing factor to antibiotic
resistance, a situation where bacteria adapt and "avoid" medications
that, if used properly, have a high success rate for killing bacteria.
"Often people are busy at work, or as they feel better, they forget to
take their antibiotics as prescribed," explains Dr. Kaplan, adding that
azithromycin, a commonly prescribed antibiotic, is now available in a
new liquid format that requires only a single dose.
In addition to antibiotics, Dr. Kaplan says that when your body is
fighting infection, it's important to get lots of sleep, drink plenty
of fluids and rest as much as possible. He also advocates trying to
maintain good nutrition. "If you don't feel like eating, go for chicken
soup and antioxidant rich fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies,
which your body needs for cell repair and healing."
"Your body needs to use all its energy to fight the infection," explains
Dr. Kaplan. "Used appropriately, in most cases antibiotics can help
because they can kill bacterial strains that cause infection, but you
have a part to play as well in helping your body successfully tackle
About Pfizer in Canada
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer, the world's
leading biopharmaceutical company. The company is one of the largest
contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified health care
portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule
medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the
world's best-known consumer products.
Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to advance wellness, prevention,
treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our
time. We apply science to our global resources to improve the health
and wellbeing of Canadians at every stage of life.
Our commitment is reflected in everything Pfizer does, from our disease
awareness initiatives, to our community partnerships and our belief,
that to be truly healthy, it takes more than medication. To learn more
about Pfizer's More than Medication philosophy, visit morethanmedication.ca. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit Pfizer.ca
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