5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor if they Prescribe Antibiotics
We live in an unnatural world, therefore, sooner or later we will all face the dilemma of whether or not to take an antibiotic.
Although many of us avoid the medical establishment as much as possible, this is where having a good relationship with a family doctor or provider pays off.
For example, my experience working in hospitals has taught me that providers who work in urgent care or ER settings often prescribe more antibiotics due to a lack of relationship and opportunity for follow-up opportunities with their patients.
In other words, if your doctor knows you and knows he or she will get to see you again in a few days, they'll be less likely to over-prescribe and more likely to watch and wait, when possible.
Plus, a good relationship with your doctor or healthcare provider opens the door for an open discussion about options.
Here are some questions you can ask if you are given an antibiotic prescription for yourself or your child:
Question 1: "I really do not want to take antibiotics if it's not essential, could we watch and wait for 2-3 days if I schedule a follow-up visit?"
Question 2: "Are there any tests we can run to confirm this is bacterial-related?"
Hopefully, your doctor already recommended these, but if not, a simple flu, strep, or urine tests can quickly confirm whether many symptoms are bacterial or viral.
Ear infections, unfortunately, cannot be swabbed to test for viral or bacterial cause. The only way to check is to puncture the eardrum, so probably skip that!
Question 3: This one relates to ear infections in children: "I understand medical guidelines, including those in the United States and Europe, now recommend a watchful waiting approach for several days since most ear infections resolve on their own. Is there any reason we can't do that with my child?"
Here's an excellent article on the watchful waiting approach to ear infections and natural remedies.
Question 4: "Are there any alternatives for my condition?" If you're working with an integrative doctor, they may offer other options (and we'll discuss some in the next section).
Question 5: "What are the risks if I do not take the antibiotic and try something else for a few days instead?"
If your doctor strongly recommends the antibiotic even after you've asked all these questions, you likely need it and should take it.
If he or she is dismissive or treats you like you're crazy or dumb for asking, find a new provider fast!