Can Older People Take Antibiotics Safely?

When antibiotics are used appropriately, they are a wonderful tool to reduce infection complications and death. This is especially true for more vulnerable populations, including the elderly!

It is important to understand when antibiotics will be helpful— and when they aren’t. Our team at AFC Urgent Care Athens, TN is filling in the details below.

Why Can Infections Be More Dangerous As You Age?

When your body starts to age, your immune system can change and become weaker. That change can introduce a wider variety of threats to your body, and that includes potentially dangerous infections.

Also when you age, your body may have a harder time fighting off the infection. That can lead to further complications or long-term issues. Antibiotics can be a great tool when used carefully.

Common Infections in the Elderly

  • UTI (urinary tract infection)
  • Skin infections like MRSA
  • Ear or sinus infections
  • Bacterial pneumonias

Are Antibiotics Overprescribed?

They certainly can be. Oftentimes, people are prescribed antibiotics when they seek help due to unpleasant symptoms, but sometimes they are prescribed just because bacteria are found during a routine screening or are given as a precaution during a procedure.

Any time that an antibiotic is prescribed when it is not necessary, it can be contributing to antibiotic resistance. Over time, the very bacteria that they were developed to treat will no longer be affected and that can lead to superinfections. Because older adults often take many different medications, it’s especially important to ensure that antibiotics are only taken when it is certain a bacterial infection is present.

Risks of Antibiotic Use in the Elderly

  • Problems from different drug interactions
  • Potential unpleasant side effects
  • Over-prescription-related resistance

Antibiotics are a great tool when used appropriately! If you think you need a prescription for an infection you have, come see us at AFC Urgent Care Athens, TN!