There are no mild antibiotics

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Doctor survey: Almost half of all doctors surveyed wrongly classified antibiotics

During the course of a specialist event, almost half of all doctors surveyed wrongly classified individual antibiotic drugs as "mild". A study that has not yet been published showed how antibiotics are still prescribed by doctors in an inflationary and unnecessary manner.

A flu infection or a runny nose with a cough and many doctors are supposed to administer "mild antibiotics" to their patients "for safety". A dangerous result, especially since the bacterial resistance to antibiotics is increasing steadily and the negative effects on the body are massive. Although the data from a current medical survey by the university professor and infectious medicine doctor Florian Thalhammer from the Medical University of Vienna (Med-Uni) have not yet been published, they are already causing a lot of discussion. At a specialist event, the specialist asked around 300 doctors about five antibiotic groups. Doctors should indicate which antibiotic agents are classified as “mild”. 49 percent of the doctors present said that at least one group was supposed to be “mild”. "That is wrong!" Thalhammer contradicts the participants. "There are no mild antibiotics, and there are also not a few antibiotics. But awareness is still lacking. "

Antibiotics despite viral infection An estimated 90 percent of acute bronchitis diseases are viral infections, the expert emphasizes. In contrast, three-quarters of the antibiotics are used due to "respiratory infections such as bronchitis". However, doctors should know that antibacterial drugs do not work against viruses, but only against bacterial strains. Thalhammer believes that at least a third of antibiotic medications are incorrectly prescribed by medical professionals. "There is a lack of awareness" of the doctors.

Effects on the intestinal flora Many doctors underestimate the undesirable effects of the medication. Antibiotics have a massive impact on the human organism. Also during the medical conference, the professor asked about the side effects of antibiotic medication. Although the intestinal flora "is influenced for six and, according to some studies, even for twelve months", "many colleagues estimated this period to be significantly shorter". (See: Antibiotics damage the intestinal flora) One reason for the frequent and incorrect use of the medication is the low price of many preparations. Thalhammer therefore proposes the introduction of a so-called "antibiotic tax". If the medicines become more expensive, the unnecessary use would also be reduced, says the university professor. The attempt has already been successful at the Vienna Hospital (AKH). In the clinic, special agents are only released by an in-house infection service. "As a result, their use and costs have dropped dramatically."

Although there are numerous reports, studies and educational campaigns, there is a trend reversal, "but antibiotics are still given too quickly for respiratory infections," said Prof. Dr. med. Karl Zwiauer, head of pediatrics at the St. Pölten State Hospital Self-image of the parents who place higher demands on treatments, but also on the supposed safety thinking of many doctors.

Better home remedies and naturopathic remedies
For respiratory infections, home remedies or plant-based medicines should be tried as a treatment option before antibiotics are administered. "There is good scientific evidence that, for example, chicken soup can inhibit upper respiratory infections and relieve body aches," said the specialist in pediatrics. Medicinal products such as thyme and ivy have scientifically proven antibacterial effects, show antiviral effects and at the same time relieve cough. There are also studies on this that provide sufficient evidence of the effects. Home remedies such as potato wrap can also relieve patient pain and reduce inflammation. All these remedies have a status "that goes beyond pure actionism," emphasizes pediatrician Zwiauer.

To relieve the symptoms of dry cough, coltsfoot is considered a highly valued medicinal plant. In the treatment, only the leaves are used for soothing teas, tinctures or juices. “In addition to improving the symptoms, the plant is said to have antibacterial effects. Use should only be avoided during pregnancy or breastfeeding, ”explained alternative practitioner Susanne Habermann from Hanover.

Increased resistance to antibiotics Antibiotics are seen by medical professionals as an "all-purpose weapon against bacterial inflammation". However, bacteria that are resistant to all medicinal products appear more and more often. This formation of resistance is a natural process, but is greatly promoted by the often unnecessary use of antibiotics. The World Health Organization (WHO) put the number of deaths from bacterial resistance in the European Union alone at around 25,000. "The increased use of natural medicine is an argument in the fight against resistance," says Habermann. (sb)

Read on:
Doctors often prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily
Alternatives to antibiotics from naturopathy

Image: Gerd Altmann /

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