SEATTLE -- It may seem like just about everyone around you is getting sick. 'Tis the season as we find ourselves in close proximity to others around the dinner table or Christmas tree.
This time of year, we are sharing more than just hugs, we are sharing all of the sick bugs, and it's human nature to want a quick fix. We want to feel better now, but doctor-prescribed antibiotics might not be your best option.
“There has been evidence of over-prescribing of antibiotics, estimated by the CDC in the 30% range," said Dr. Drew Oliveira with Regence BlueShield.
Dr. Oliveira says an antibiotics prescription that isn't necessary could wreak havoc on your healthy bacteria in your gut. He says bacteria get smart over time.
“As a result we have stronger and stronger antibiotics just to combat that resistance, that antibiotic resistance," he said.
That is just one of the reasons why Dr. Oliveira recommends taking antibiotics only when it is absolutely necessary.
“I think the other piece to you know just a healthy body, is actually having healthy gut flora, is what we call it, bacteria in your gut. If we use antibiotics too often we actually change that flora and that can actually lead to certain over growths of bacteria. Some of that overgrowth can lead to serious illness," he said.
Dr. Oliveira says instead of running to the doctor when you sniffle, if your symptoms are minor, maybe try waiting it out.
"Do I really need to take that medication? Is there another alternative, if you are one of those people that are comfortable waiting… let them know that," he said.
Dr. Oliveira says antibiotics can not only wreak havoc on the good bacteria, antibiotics often affect the digestive system. The common side effects include vomiting, nausea, indigestion and loss of appetite. That's why he says it is so important to discuss options with your health care provider.