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Posted on / Dr. Zoë McMillen

Secrets of Savvy Antibiotic Use

We live in harmony with billions of germs all over us, on our belongings, our food and throughout our environment, most of which are beneficial. Medically we focus on fungi, viruses, parasites, or bacteria that pose infection risk. Antibiotics proved miraculous in overcoming the peril of infectious disease. However, inappropriate antibiotic use is plunging us into a terrifying era of untreatable resistant infections. 

Thus the importance of Antibiotic Stewardship.

Patients often request antibiotics for viral infections such as colds, flu, bronchitis, or sinus infections but bacterial antibiotics do not kill viruses. They are of no benefit while increasing your risk of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. Unfortunately, the bacteria possess brilliant resistance mechanisms to fight back, allowing them to survive and thrive. Many industries contribute to antibiotic resistance, including agriculture, concentrated animal feeding operations, veterinary medicine, and the medical industry.

Unfortunately, we cannot rely on new drugs. Since 1990, 80% of major drug companies have scaled back antibiotic research. To add to these concerning figures, only 1 of 5 antibiotic drugs that reach testing in humans will receive approval from the FDA. The future has already been written, we now live in a post-antibiotic era.

So what can you personally do?

  • Get vaccinated to protect yourself & others from vaccine-preventable disease
  • Use antibiotics appropriately, only when necessary, & complete the full course
  • Support your microbiome with a healthy, organic, plant-based diet rich in fiber; include a variety of fermented foods like yogurts, kombucha, fermented veggies

- Dr. Zoë McMillen, MD

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