A new study shows that antibiotics are being overused for sinus infections. A whopping 90 percent of these nasty nose conditions are caused by viruses, and viruses do not respond to antibiotics at all. But still, 70 percent of us will walk out of our doctors' offices with antibiotic prescriptions for sinus infections.

I understand why this happens. Yesterday, I had a cold, and it was brutal. I was tempted to go to my doctor and beg him to give me anything and everything that might make me feel better.

But I'm finding out that it's actually dangerous to overuse antibiotics. Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics and develop into superbugs like MRSA that are difficult to treat. I consulted a doctor who is researching drugs for more info. Here is what Ron Najafi, Ph.D., CEO of NovaBay Pharmaceuticals had to say:

What is the harm of overusing antibiotics?
       When we overuse antibiotics, we become resistant to them. We have already lost many of safest and cheapest antibiotics because they no longer work. We need to preserve our precious few safe antibiotics for when we need them the most.  They are essential in saving lives in many serious infections. 

So you agree that antibiotics are overused?
        Antibiotics are antibacterial, and they should not be prescribed for non-bacterial infections such as viral or fungal infections. For example taking antibiotics when suffering from common cold exposes you to antibiotics unnecessarily.
        
When do you need an antibiotic?
        When you have a bacterial infection or there is a strong suspicion of bacterial infection.

 When do you not need one?
        When you have a common cold or other viral infection.

So how do you know whether you have a bacterial or viral infection? This chart from The MayoClinic.com might help. Also, join to the private group Ask an OB RN if you have questions about your antibiotics.

Do you think we're overusing our antibiotics?