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N.L. doctors urge patients to ensure they get the health care required to overcome illness

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‘Talking to your doctor is important’

If you are sick, go to your doctor.

That is the message Dr. Natalie Bridger is reminding people.

Bridger, a member of Choosing Wisely Canada, an associate professor of pediatrics at Memorial University in St. John’s and an infectious disease specialist at Eastern Health said she doesn’t want people to think that just because you are not feeling well you shouldn’t see a doctor.

For most of November, Bridger and her colleagues with Quality of Care NL and Choosing Wisely NL have been advising the public of the dos and don’ts of antibiotic use, when they are needed and what the consequences are if you don’t require them.

“Talking to your doctor is important. Go, give them the information so there is dialogue between you and your physician and find out what can be done about the symptoms you have,’’ Bridger said.

“Don’t avoid treatment. You should get the right treatment. And please talk to your doctor about your symptoms. We (doctors) all go to work in the morning to help people,” she added.

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Antibiotics - wait it out

Bridger said it is important to do so and to ask some questions. She said a lot of people who are sick would say ‘the last time I felt like this, the doctor gave me antibiotics.’

But what if you have a common cold, sinusitis or other ailments? Normally the doctor would prescribe an antibiotic when in fact the best way to treat most colds, coughs or sore throats is with plenty of fluids and rest. Talk to your health-care provider about the options.

Bridger, who is a pediatrician, says she sees plenty of children with upper-respiratory tract infections. In addition she sees children with a cold or the flu who have been treated, wind up with a post viral cough that can linger for a week or more.

“Their parents get worried and say ‘Oh no, they have a cough’ or ‘Oh no, they have pneumonia.’

“In the case of these children, their airways are irritable after an infection and could even have temporary asthma type symptoms that would benefit from the use of a puffer,’’ she added.

The Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University’s Quality of Care NL program has partnered with Choosing Wisely NL and the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association to echo the World Health Organization’s recognition of the over-prescribing of antibiotics.

The focus of Quality of Care NL projects is to ensure the appropriate health care across the province gets the right interventions for the right patients and the correct time.
Quality of Care NL has partnered with Choosing Wisely Canada, a program focused on reducing the use of unnecessary tests where harms outweigh the benefits by using and sharing its findings to enhance medical care for patients.

samuel.mcneish@thetelegram.com

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