Antibiotic resistance is a problem most healthcare providers are aware of, but many patients are not. While I learned about MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) in medical school over 40 years ago, as a pediatrician antibiotic resistance was most evident when my patients returned with persistent ear infections. In retrospect, it was more complicated than I knew at the time. While some of the resistant ear infections appeared to respond to a different antibiotic — many of which were likely caused by bacteria resistant to the initial antibiotic chosen — others did not. It is now known that a lot of those ear infections did not respond because they were viral and would have resolved without antibiotics. The same is true of many pneumonias, sore throats, and sinus infections — especially in children. What was standard care at the time inadvertently contributed to the problem.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics such as treating known viral infections