Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : April 11, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 8 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, APRIL 11, 2017
“The doctor hasn't given me a prescription for antibiotics!”
How often I have heard that complaint from patients suffering from common cold or flu-
like symptoms who have just seen the doctor and left the consulting room without a
prescription for medication. Patients with this 'complaint' often go on see another doctor
who, under pressure from the patient, hands out a prescription for antibiotics. Sometime
later the patient then returns and with an air of confidence states that the first doctor got it
wrong and the other doctor 'cured' them with antibiotics.
Many patients presenting with cold and flu like symptoms are not suffering from an
infection caused by a bacteria but are suffering from a viral infection. So let us be clear
about this, Antibiotics cannot and do not cure viral infections.
The good news is that generally the body's own defence systems will after a period of a few
days overcome the viral infection. In cases where the doctor believes the cause of a
condition to be a virus they often prescribe rest, plenty of fluids and over the counter
medications to alleviate the symptoms. Importantly, the doctor will usually suggest the
patient return if the condition does not improve in a few days or if it gets worse.
Giving antibiotics to a patient with a viral infection serves no purpose and increases the
risk of general antibiotic resistance so that when such medications are really needed they
are ineffective. Indeed at this present time we are literally on the cusp of a health
Armageddon where antibiotics will no longer be effective. Simple infections may become
life threatening and many types of surgery will become extremely risky or will not be
undertaken. Already Tuberculosis is making a dramatic return and may become the
scourge it once was.
Do we have other ways to fight a bacterial infection? Well actually at present there are very
few alternatives and bacteria are emerging that are resistant to all known treatments.
Now let us return to the case of the patient who wanted the prescription for antibiotics and
got it elsewhere and was 'cured'. What has actually occurred in this instance? As already
mentioned, most viral infections are overcome by our body's natural defences in 5 to 7
days. The so called 'cure' in this case is the result of this natural process, in reality the
antibiotic did absolutely nothing to assist the body to overcome the viral infection.
Can the doctor get the diagnosis wrong? Most certainly, particularly as it can sometimes
be difficult to distinguish between the types of infection. This is why a doctor will suggest
the patient should return if there is no improvement in a few days or if the condition
There is also another reason why a doctor will make this suggestion and that is because it is
not unusual for a secondary Infection to develop that is caused by a bacteria (e.g
pneumococcal). So a virus may be the primary cause of an infection (e.g a respiratory
infection) and no antibiotic will be prescribed but subsequently a bacterial infection may
worsen the condition. In this situation the doctor will then prescribe an antibiotic best
suited to rid the patient of the secondary infection.
Secondary bacterial infections of the respiratory system can be particularly dangerous to
young children. Do not hesitate to return to the doctor if the child's condition worsens or
does not improve. Encouraging news is that recent research has shown that people who
are vaccinated against the flu virus are, for reasons not clearly understood, less likely to
contract secondary bacterial infections.
Since the 1940s it has been so easy to get antibiotics to cure bacterial infections that many
of us have become lax in our general hygiene. Yet good personal hygiene is still the most
effective way to protect ourselves and others from illness. ( Tip: When you wash your
hands do it properly. You should clean both hands and wrists by wetting the hands,
applying soap and rubbing the hands and fingers together to ensure that all areas of your
hands come in contact with the soap for at least 15 seconds. Rinse thoroughly and dry
So next time when you go to the doctor and they do not prescribe an antibiotic for your cold
or flu like symptoms do not be surprised, make sure you understand what the diagnosis is
and listen to the doctor's instructions for the management of your condition.
Victorian Government (2013) Better Health Channel Fact Sheet, “Personal Hygiene” ,
Victorian Government (2013) Better Health Channel Fact Sheet, “Infections Viral and
“Infectious Diseases in Children”
Alanis, AJ, (2005) “Resistance to antibiotics: are we in a post-antibiotic era” Lilly research
Laboratories, Eli Lilly & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana Pubmed, PMID 16216651
Gootz, TD (2010) “The global problem of antibiotic resistance” Thomas Gootz consulting,
Deep River, CT06417 USA
Pubmed PMID 20370622
Wallinga, David (2013) “Does Adding routine antibiotics to animal feed pose a serious
risk to human health “ British Medical Journal,
Garrett, Laurie (1995) “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of
Balance” Penguin Books
42 Murray Street, Wonthaggi
25 a’Beckett Street, Inverloch
Why haven't you given
By John Turner
B Soc. Welf., Master Intl & Community Development, MAICD, MAAPM
(Article courtesy of Wonthaggi Medical Group, 42 Murray St, Wonthaggi)
THE Bass Coast Specialist School will be
equipped with a bus suitable to transport stu-
dents in wheelchairs again, after a golf day
fundraiser raised more than $20,000 on Friday.
A collision with a tram while on a trip to
Melbourne in October saw the school’s van
While insurance covered the cost of the bus,
it didn’t cover a wheelchair lift at the rear of the
bus, which costs over $20,000.
The golf day was the brainchild of Bass MP
Brian Paynter and Wonthaggi Holden and Toy-
ota’s Tony Cuzzupi, who organised the day and
sought out auction items from local businesses.
Bass Coast Specialist School principal Edith
Gray was thrilled with the success of the day.
“I don’t think we’d be able to get the bus this
year if they didn’t do this,” she said.
“We could get the bus from the insurance, but
we couldn’t have it wheelchair modified.
“We’ve got two boys who love the Super-
bikes on the Island and we had to decide
which one could go, because we’ve got a bus
with wheelchair accessibility but it can’t take
two wheelchairs. ”
Goods and services were donated by a num-
ber of local businesses for the auction, Alex
Scott and Staff auctioneers Greg Price and
Paul Dunlop donated their time to auction off
the items, the Wonthaggi Club provided meals
and the Wonthaggi Golf Club paid the green
fees for the day.
Checking out the auction items at the Golf Fundraiser Day for the Bass Coast Specialist
School at the Wonthaggi Golf Club on Friday were Wonthaggi Holden and Toyota’s Tony
Cuzzupi, Bass Coast Specialist School Business Manager Christina Burns, Bass MP Brian
Paynter and Bass Coast Specialist School principal Edith Gray. rg221517
Golf day nets $20,000
for specialist school
Declan Foott visited Leongatha last Tuesday on his way to Darwin as he raised funds for
cancer research. N011517
Darwin via Leongatha
for cancer research
DECLAN Foott pedalled through Leongatha
last Tuesday on his way to Darwin, raising
funds, as he goes, for cancer research and to
honour his late mum Tania.
Declan, from Swan Hill, commenced his
journey from Melbourne on April 3, and while
Leongatha is a little out of the way, he has
mates and family friends in town and was
happy to swing by and say hello.
His initial aim was to reach $10,000 , but
he’s already smashed that figure and revised
the goal to $25,000 via the My Own Way pro -
gram on the ‘everydayhero’ website.
As of yesterday, he’s reached more than
$22,000 , so by the time he gets to Darwin, the
goal may have to be revised a few more times.
“I am incredibly passionate about the pre -
vention of cancer and aim to reduce the toll
it has on an individual, family or community.
“My significant motivation was driven from
the affect cancer has had on my family and
community with the passing of my mother.
“This with, current evidence within Austra-
lia and communities all over the world, has
given me no choice but to act. Please donate
to a better future free of cancer.”
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