Srinagar: Doctors in Kashmir valley prescribe antibiotics for swine flu even though it is caused by a virus against which antibiotics have no effect, said Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday in a communiqué.
President DAK and flu expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan said swine flu is a viral infection that is not helped by taking antibiotics.
“Despite antibiotics do not work against flu, clinicians continue to dole out unnecessary antibiotics for flu patients,” he said. “You go to a doctor with runny nose, sorethroat or cough, you will walk away with a prescription for antibiotics”, he said.
DAK President said people who come down with flu are asking their doctors for antibiotics. They have a misconception that antibiotics help to get over flu more quickly.
He said use of antibiotics for flu is not only inappropriate but also puts patients at risk for antibiotic-resistant infections.
“Not only the improper use has helped the microbes to evolve into resistant bugs, but patients are needlessly put at risk of serious adverse effects of antibiotics,” Dr Nisar said.
He added misuse of antibiotics wipes out body’s good bacteria that is contributing to the rise in chronic conditions like obesity, asthma and cancer.
Dr Nisar said while antiviral medications provide life-saving benefits to flu patients, they are not used.
He said antiviral drugs prevent the risk of serious complications and reduce deaths. “A large meta-analysis showed that early treatment with antiviral medications reduced the risk of death by 60%,” he said.
Dr Nisar said antivirals shorten the duration of illness and make flu milder. Treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that can result in a hospital stay.
“Flu antivirals work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful,” he said.
“With increase in number of cases and five deaths in Kashmir so far due to swine flu, antiviral medications are an important weapon to fight this season’s flu which is shaping up to be harsh,” said Dr Nisar.