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To want our doctors to give us medicine?

(136 Posts)
ditziness Tue 09-Apr-13 13:55:41

Have two kids, 11 month baby and 4 year old. DH and I got ill 3 weeks or so ago, sore and tight chested, sore throat and ears. Kids started getting it too a week after. DH went to doctor on own and got antibiotics for a chest infection. Me and kids go day after, but apparently no antibiotics needed, we've all got a virus. Meanwhile DH is fighting fit within a couple of days of antibiotics. A week later me and the kids still coughing and rotten, surviving on paracetamol and calpol, not sleeping well . On my knees really. So back to doctors, but still no antibiotics . Apparently still a virus. That DH bizarrely hasn't got.

AIBU to think they should just give us antibiotics?

CloudsAndTrees Tue 09-Apr-13 14:25:34

Even if it is a bacterial infection, that does not automatically mean you have to have antibiotics. Bacterial infection can and do get better on their own quite often.

The difference is that your DH is asthmatic, which is a huge piece of info to leave out of your OP. People like your DH need antibiotics to work for as long as possible, and that won't happen if GPs hand them out for every little chest infection going in perfectly healthy people.

mumofweeboys Tue 09-Apr-13 14:26:05

Prob not make you feel better buI was wiped out for two months with a similar virus and kids passed it back and forth. DH ended up with antibiotics as his lung lining became infected. We just had to sit it out, seems there has been lots cold virus that people are having problems shifting.

Ditzydit Tue 09-Apr-13 14:27:34

Reluctant, I think the days of treating the doctor like a demi god are past now.

At my age I have had enough illnesses to have a pretty good idea which are viral and which have progressed to a bacterial infection. As an asthmatic I can probably be regarded as an expert as I have had so many chest problems over the years.

The default position is it's viral and if you go back after a week you may get ABs then if it hasn't cleared up on it's own.

Coughing up green sticky gunk sounds like a chest infection to me - I have had them myself, and nursed people with them when I was a nurse.

tempnameswap Tue 09-Apr-13 14:29:28

What your doc will have done (I hope) OP is listen to each of your chests.

The symptoms may well have all started with the same virus but then it will have progressed to a secondary bacterial infection in your dh. ie the mucus in his lungs has been hanging around and has become infected. Your GP will hear crackles in his lungs if this is the case....And if he has asthma he may well have been wheezy. So antibiotics will clear this infection up but will have no effect on the primary virus.

It is possible that you all have a bit of secondary infection, although not bad enough to be audible in anyone other than your dh. And it is possible that antibiotics would shorten the time you have symptoms by a day or two. Like ear infections where they make a day or so's difference. BUT if everyone with a chesty virus was given antibiotics then antibiotic resistance would be even worse than it is! We need to save them for serious infections or the world will be a more dangerous place, believe me.

Ditzydit Tue 09-Apr-13 14:30:02

CloudsAndTrees you do realise we live in a global world where in most places these ABs can be bought over the counter? What we do on this little rock here is insignificant.

KellyElly Tue 09-Apr-13 14:32:38

Do some people on this thread seriously think doctors never get anything wrong? My doctor diagnosed DD with eczema when she clearly had prickly heat and tried to give her a steriod cream. Also diagnosed me with strep throat when I had a quincy that landed me in A&E. They're not infallible and plenty misdiagnose hmm

LessMissAbs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:33:20

YANBU. I have had 4 chest infections this winter, really unpleasant ones. The last one wasn't clearing up, and I was gradually getting weaker. I had some antibiotics left over from when I had pneumonia a couple of years ago. Took them and after 36 hours started to feel much better, after 3 days was a lot better, and after a week all cleared up. Interestingly, these were not penicillin but macrolides, which work on bacteria which do not have cell walls to attack (which is what penicillin does).

If you are producing pus, it is the sign that your body's immune system is attacking an antigen. How a doctor can work out whether that's a virus or an infection from a cursory examination, I don't know. I think its just a way of saving the NHS money.

Lueji Tue 09-Apr-13 14:34:33

He's also asthmatic.

There you go.

greendental Tue 09-Apr-13 14:40:49

I went to the gp yesterday, having had a virus for the last 2 weeks and lots of coughing. Gp made me stand and listened for some minutes to my chest, did some tapping, said how bubbly it sounded and prescribed antibiotics and and inhaler, although no history of asthma.

Although I felt grotty with the virus and a bit warm at times, I could still get around and work. I'm now in bed with a very high temperature and even walking up the stairs exhausts me.

ditziness Tue 09-Apr-13 14:42:27

I also just think they should look at the whole picture. As I said to the doctor, the three of us being ill for weeks is meaning I'm having to look after two small whiny ill children on no sleep whilst being ill myself. I was already feeling awful as the baby is a crap sleeper. Which I was asking theGP and doctor about the week before and in years saying how awful I felt. And now I'll for 3 weeks. I'm just at breaking point. We need some medecine

ditziness Tue 09-Apr-13 14:44:04

Btw, my son has an inhaler too for recurrent bronchialitis. And baby is a baby.

OddBoots Tue 09-Apr-13 14:44:48

If you can fight it off on your own (even if it is bacterial) then that's for the good, antibiotics are not free of risks and side effects including long term ones. It was probably the asthma that tipped the balance with your dh.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 09-Apr-13 14:45:16

Ditzy, yes, I do. Which is why I'm a complete hypocrite and I stock up on antibiotics that get rid of my spots every time I go to Egypt blush

reluctantmover Tue 09-Apr-13 14:47:39

Why do you think antibiotics are your solution?

Why does your age deem you can tell what is viral and what is not? I always thought going to medical school would give you a better chance of self-diagnosis than who old you are.

If you absolutely think you have a bacterial infection, then ask for tests to be done.

Some bacterial infections gain little from using antibiotics for treatment, eg strep throat.

dreamingbohemian Tue 09-Apr-13 14:50:45

I'm also amazed how much blind faith people put in GPs. Surely there are enough examples out there of GPs getting it wrong or just not being bothered.

There's a huge difference between handing out ABs like candy, and refusing to give them to a very sick family when they've been shown to work on one family member already.

Isn't guidence now that AB aren't much use for mild chest infections.

LessMissAbs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:54:25

tbh thought reluctant mover, GP work is hardly at the cutting edge and is strongly dictated by targets, which can make GPs reluctant to send for bacterial tests or prescribe antibiotics. Understanding what causes infections and viruses is hardly rocket science, or even A level Biology, and neither is how antibiotics work. Whereas encouraging self-awareness of health and well being probably does have some argument for long term gain.

motherinferior Tue 09-Apr-13 14:57:04

I don't have 'blind faith' in GPs, though I do tend to assume that they have rather more medical knowledge than I do - I'm only a health journalist. Sadly, my GP calls my bluff by citing the latest peer-reviewed literature to me on what'll work, so I tend to listen...grin

I also write a fair bit about antibiotic misuse, and tend to think that expert concern is worth listening to...

Lueji Tue 09-Apr-13 14:59:14

I had one of those chesty coughs and even after ABs, it only cleared with an inhaler.

ABs won't necessarily be the best thing for you, and may actually lead to worst bacteria settling in after the course of ABs if the virus infection is still present.

reluctantmover Tue 09-Apr-13 15:02:14

funny that because one of my children's bacterial pneumonia diagnosis was dictated not by targets but by a chest x-ray and blood tests, the chest x-ray indicating pneumonia to a high degree of accuracy and blood tests showing which bacteria was responsible, first and hopefully last time the child will have antibiotics. That BBC link to research is quite a useful thing to read. Sounds like the OP needs some rest and recuperation.

LessMissAbs Tue 09-Apr-13 15:05:50

Antibiotic misuse is certainly in favour in academia right now motherinferior. I'd like to see more research on poor hygiene standards in hospitals. And more comparative studies with other European countries on prescription patterns. I don't assume what all GPs think is correct is correct, but my job sometimes involves dealing with their mistakes. Plus, I'm naturally questioning and cynical.

But in very basic biological terms, you don't want to destroy or severely weaken the host while waiting for them to fight the infection, as it might cause more severe problems in the long term.

How does anti

LessMissAbs Tue 09-Apr-13 15:07:16

How many days from first day of likely infection to discovery of the pneumonia, reluctantmover? Because in my case it was 3 weeks, by which point I had to be hospitalised and given intraveneous antibiotics.

SoupDragon Tue 09-Apr-13 15:10:55

Since your DH is now fighting fit, make him look after you and the children wink

reluctantmover Tue 09-Apr-13 15:16:35

No idea how long, with many different types of pneumonia, both bacterial and viral, I would expect it to vary widely. In our child's case it way an atypical infection, ie a bit harder to spot on initial symptoms, but there was something not quite right and with friends too, it took me a week to react, GP picked up right away the indicators, first GP visit in 5 years and only second ever visit for illness and not vaccines, so not much medical history to go on, had chest x-ray and antibiotics in 24 hours, blood results in 48 hours, risk analysis to keep at home as IV antibiotics not needed, took 4 further weeks before the funny sound on breathing to finally go away and seem 100% recovered.

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