ER doctor says antibiotics are prescribed way too much for unnecessary reasons

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - An emergency room doctor says the country is overusing antibiotics, and it could have negative consequences in the future.

More than half the time a patient is given an antibiotic, it wasn't necessary. Emergency room physician Ryan Stanton said 75 to 80 percent of the time, antibiotics aren't the answer to a doctor's visit.

"What we are doing is we're over-using antibiotics for things we could treat otherwise, and for things that have no benefit with antibiotics whatsoever," Stanton said. "The biggest issue I see is we're using that to the point that it's an easy button without actually digging down and finding a solution to the actual problem."

Stanton also says antibiotics are being prescribed to satisfy patients more than solving medical problems.

Antibiotics are for bacterial infections only, not viruses. When antibiotics are used for viruses, your body builds up a resistance to the antibiotics.

"There are bacteria in this country that we have significant problems treating, and we're going to see stuff grow, and things are going to be more deadly, more dangerous, and we will not have an antibiotic to treat it," Stanton said.

Stanton believes the answer is to treat the symptoms in preventing what causes the illness to begin with. If that's done, he said patients will be better off when bacterial infections do hit.

"If you are an adult with a healthy immune system, you rarely need an antibiotic," Stanton explained.

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