When we have a headache, fever, or other symptoms, many of us tend to self-medicate. However, if we do not know the appropriate dose of the drugs we ingest, we can become poisoned and even generate antimicrobial resistance.
So warns Dr. Diana FernandezPresident of Infectious Diseases in Intensive Care at the Peruvian Society of Intensive Medicinein an interview for the group Trade.
What is self-medication and what happens when we over-medicate?
As Dr. Fernández explains, the self medication It is the use of medicines on its own initiative, without the intervention of a doctor in the diagnosis and in the follow-up of the treatment offered, which is why it can be dangerous.
“Beware of excessive self-medication and poisoning as it can cause organ damage and even death. Be careful not to self-medicate when we have a headache, let’s remember that not all headaches are benign, it could be an alteration of the blood vessels of the brain and it is necessary to be seen by a specialist in the area”, specifies the president of Infectious Diseases in intensive care of the Peruvian Society of Intensive Medicine.
“Self-medication is dangerous because it can hide other health problems. Also, you can get poisoned and have unwanted adverse events. It is better to go to the health post of your district for comprehensive care”, he added.
When is it feasible to self-medicate without harming ourselves?
Diana Fernández argues that there is the responsible self-medication with safe drugs that should be part of our home medicine cabinet. These drugs are: paracetamol, whose doses vary in children and adults, to know the correct dose you should consult your doctor. You can also have in the medicine cabinet the ibuprofen Y naproxenwhich are anti-inflammatory drugs.
The specialist advises that if you have cold symptoms such as excess mucus in the nasal cavity, you can use the antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine, cetirizine, loratadine, or desloratadine. They are safe drugs, however, to have the correct dose, a doctor should be consulted beforehand.
Self-medication and antimicrobial resistance
“Sometimes we have flu-like symptoms: our throat hurts because it’s swollen, our head hurts, we have a fever, all because of a viral illness, but we usually treat all of these with antibiotics, which are created to kill bacteria. So, we are using drugs that kill bacteria to kill viruses and that is absurd.”says the intensive care doctor.
“The bacteria that inhabit our body and that live in symbiosis with us begin to be resistant to those antibiotics that we consume. When we do have an infection, our bacteria will not respond to those antibiotics and we will need stronger and more expensive antibiotics.”, adds the specialist.
For this reason, Dr. Diana Fernández warns that the best way to avoid antimicrobial resistance is to use antibiotics properly through health personnel. In addition, she advises people to comply with their vaccination doses against Covid-19, not to use drugs excessively, to go to a post in search of a health professional to take medication and invites the public to enter the page take care of ourselves together from Pfizer where you can find information with scientific support and rigor on advice, diagnosis and treatment of various diseases.