Toronto podiatrist says "Do not take antibiotics unless it is really necessary"


In an article in the National Post on March 25 2013, Dr. James Aw points out that many patients with colds, coughs and  upper respiratory infections often demand a prescription for an antibiotic from their family doctor.  In many cases, the doctor will give in, even though the doctor knows that the vast majority of coughs, colds and upper respiratory infections are due to viruses.  Antibiotics do not kill viruses.  In fact, in a reasonably healthy patient the viruses are self-limiting, which means they will resolve on their own due to the body’s natural defenses.  Unfortunately, the frequent use of antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria which are becoming more difficult to treat since the bacteria tend to mutate faster than new drugs can be created.  This can eventually lead to a scenario where antibiotics no longer work against a disease causing bacteria.  Consequently if your family doctor says that you do not need an antibiotic, it is to everyone’s advantage to not take them unnecessarily.

In my Toronto podiatry office, when I perform Minimally Invasive Surgery for Bunions, hammertoes, corns and bone spurs with Local Anesthetic, I do not give the patient a prescription for an antibiotic prior to the surgery unless specifically indicated by the patient’s history.   In the rare case that the patient does develop a post-operative infection, I will not hesitate to prescribe the appropriate antibiotic.  In my opinion, however, patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery have a lesser chance of developing an infection after surgery because tourniquets, which are often used in conventional surgery to cut off blood flow during surgery, are not necessary with this technique.  This, along with the smaller openings used in minimally invasive surgery tends to greatly reduce the chance of post-operative infection.

If you, or someone you care about, suffer from Bunions, hammer toes, corns, calluses or, painful bone spurs, please call my Toronto foot clinic at 416-486-9917 to find out how you can be helped by minimally invasive techniques.

And remember, if your doctor says you don’t need antibiotics, don’t insist on taking them.