• Question: What do you think is better, to use antibiotics or to let your body kill the disease itself?

    Asked by OR to Marikka, Matt, Rob on 20 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Robert Hampson

      Robert Hampson answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      It depends how ill you are.

      If you have a minor cold, let your body sort it out.

      If you’ve just had an operation and you have a major internal infection of MRSA, take antibiotics.

      Our immune systems and healthcare systems would be much better off if we allowed our bodies to sort out the minor stuff on their own.

      However, if you are ever worried about anything, do go to the doctor!

    • Photo: Matt Bilton

      Matt Bilton answered on 21 Nov 2014:

      If your body can kill off an infection then that is great – of course it may be better not to test this! Antibiotics can really help your body fight a bacterial infection, so when you’re ill antibiotics are a good option. This should be balanced against the risk of side effects though and how good the antibiotics are for the infection you have. And whether you are likely to be ill for ages or just a few days! Your doctor should be the best placed person to help you make this decision.

      On the other hand, without your immune system antibiotics would only do so much good anyhow! So even better is if we can TEACH your body to fight off an bacteria or virus, even before you’re infected. This is the basis of vaccination and in my opinion this is the best option! If the vaccine is really good then hopefully you wouldn’t need antibiotics at all.