Why You May Not Get Antibiotics At Your Urgent Care Visit

July 14, 2023

Taking antibiotics when they’re not needed won’t help you feel better – and they may cause unwelcome side effects.

That’s why your urgent care provider only prescribes antibiotics for infections caused by bacteria, such as strep throat, urinary tract infection or Whooping Cough. In addition, antibiotic resistance is one of the top concerns of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which advises health care providers and health care organizations to prescribe antibiotics only when necessary.

In fact, some of the most common maladies, which are viruses, won’t be cured by antibiotics. These include:

  • Colds and runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow or green
  • Most sore throats, with the exception of strep throat
  • Flu
  • Chest colds and bronchitis

Complicating matters, some illnesses may be bacterial or viral. These include:

  • Ear infection
  • Sinus infection

In general, our urgent care providers may run lab tests (to confirm or rule out strep and flu, for example) and evaluate factors such as the severity of your symptoms and their duration to help determine the best course of treatment. In the case of a sinus infection, for example, your provider may suggest over-the-counter remedies to reduce congestion or a medication to help with persistent coughing, rather than prescribe a medication. If your sinus infection persists for over a week, then antibiotics may be in order.

According to recent data from the CDC, about 30 percent of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. And excessive use of antibiotics is the leading contributor to antibiotic-resistant germs, which means they won’t work when they are really needed.

If your medical provider doesn’t think an antibiotic is the answer for your illness or your child’s, be sure to talk to her about what medication may help with symptom relief. It’s also a good idea to discuss next steps – for example, if symptoms persist or grow worse, your provider may suggest a follow-up visit or additional lab tests.

So if you ever visit us and don’t get antibiotic, know our healthcare providers have you or your child’s best overall health in mind. And never hesitate to ask for tips on how to relieve symptoms to feel better.

For additional information about antibiotic use, visit  https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/do-and-dont.html

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