One of the things that worries me with this disease are the times that we get sick and have to go on antibiotics. My pulmonologist is very good about telling me when I should or should not take them. My concerns with antibiotics lie in the area of taking them too often and for the wrong reasons which then renders them ineffective or resistant. I did some searching on this since I wasn't sure if I was just being a worry-wart or not and learned that one of the major public concerns now is, in fact, antibiotic resistancy.
Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, not viral - they will not work on colds or the flu. (Click here for a good fact sheet.) So, if we take antibiotics when what he have is a viral infection it won't do anything to help alleviate the viral infection and, instead, can cause resistance rendering them ineffective the next time we need them. It is especially important for us COPD'ers to only take antibiotics for bacterial infections and as prescribed since the nature of our disease can result in exacerbations, and it's at that time that we'll need all the help we can get from meds.
"Q: Why should I be concerned about antibiotic resistance? A: Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world's most pressing public health problems. Almost every type of bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment when it is really needed. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria can quickly spread to family members, schoolmates, and co-workers - threatening the community with a new strain of infectious disease that is more difficult to cure and more expensive to treat. For this reason, antibiotic resistance is among CDC's top concerns."
"Q: Why are bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics? A: Antibiotic use promotes development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant germs may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and improper uses of antibiotics are primary causes of the increase in drug-resistant bacteria.
While antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial infections, they are not effective against viral infections like the common cold, most sore throats, and the flu. Widespread use of antibiotics promotes the spread of antibiotic resistance. Smart use of antibiotics is the key to controlling the spread of resistance."