How refreshing to see someone with this attitude! Kudos.
Doctors have been so long accustomed - and accosted - to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics (you wouldn't believe some of my experiences***) that sometimes on a borderline case, they'll just write out the script. What a welcome question this would be:
Doctor, I'd like to avoid antibiotics if it's safe to do so. Is there an alternative, or do you think it's better to be on one?
No decent doctor will be dissuaded by this question from prescribing a necessary antibiotic (if they're not decent, you shouldn't be seeing them!)
I doubt you would ever pressure a doctor to give you an antibiotic if they don't think you need one. For anyone else reading this: please don't.
The following pertains to all members of your family.
- Never save the last few pills "in case you get sick again".
- Don't take anyone else's antibiotics "'til you have a chance to see a doctor".
- Better a higher dose for a shorter time than a lower dose for a longer time.
- Ask if a narrow-spectrum antibiotic would treat your illness as well as a broad spectrum antibiotic.
- Get all your recommended vaccines! Some of them are for common bacteria now.
- Don't ask for an antibiotic over the phone because "this is exactly like what I had last time".
- Read about when antibiotics (and doctor visits) are and aren't necessary, e.g. at the CDC's Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work, etc. (See links)
- Take and finish your antibiotics as prescribed.
In terms of home and personal hygiene, don't be afraid of germs; there are more harmless ones out there than dangerous ones.
- Don't try to sanitize your house. Water and mild detergent is good enough for cleaning.
- Use a mild soap for bathing, something without anti-bacterials.
***I once saw a patient who presented with "sinusitis" since "this morning". He wanted antibiotics. On reviewing his symptoms (and clinical exam), he had no evidence of sinusitis. I gently refused, explaining the common risks of unnecessary antibiotics. He persisted. I went further, explaining to him the uncommon but much more serious risks, e.g. Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea (aka C. diff). He persisted. I went even further, explaining the really serious - but possible - risks and discussed the risk-to-benefit ratio. He called me ridiculous and left in a huff. Two days later, I got a call from the Hospital Administrator's office (my employer's boss). Turned out that the patient was a golfing buddy of his. The Hospital Administrator (not a physician, but a businessman) told me in no uncertain terms that he expected me to give patients antibiotics when they asked for them! (I'll spare you the details of the rest of the story.)
Reducing Unnecessary Antibiotics Prescribed to
Children: What Next?
Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work
Appropriate Antimicrobial Prescribing: Approaches that Limit Antibiotic Resistance