Breaking the antibiotic addiction: Dr Katwal calls overusing medication for minor ailments a mistake

Published On: May 13, 2023 06:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU , May 12: Doctors suggest wearing a mask when stepping out of the house. Due to the risk of coronavirus infection and the air pollution in Kathmandu, doctors have insisted on the mandatory use of masks when stepping out of the house. This is the common problem of every Kathmanduites. If you walk around without wearing a mask, you will have irritation of nose, ears and throat. Residents of the capital have a common problem of getting sick if they go out without wearing a mask. Dr Shaswat Katwal, ear, nose and throat (ENT)  specialist at Alka Hospital, says that with the change in weather, ENT patients have increased. He said that due to the change in weather, the nose becomes dry and gets infected. He suggested that since the amount of air pollution is increasing in Nepal recently, it is mandatory to use a mask and clean your hands well after leaving the house. He suggested treating ENT problems at home as much as possible and to go to the hospital only if it is unbearable. He said that there is a lot of unnecessary use of antibiotics in Nepal and emphasized that the medicine should be used only after the advice and suggestions of doctors. 

Excerpts from a conversation with Shaswat Katwal, ENT specialist at Alka Hospital:

Why does it seem that there is a slight increase in ENT patients with the change of weather?

The lining of our nose becomes dry due to weather change. That is why there is a high possibility of getting infected. Therefore, whenever the weather changes, the possibility of infection increases. Most of us call it rhinovirus. This infection is more likely during the winter season. This is also the cause of the common cold. The lining of our nose is not able to function properly being dry and hence, infection keeps spreading. 

How is the ear, nose and throat related?

If you have a cough that lasts a long time and the tube that connects your nose and ear is blocked, you might get an infection in your ear. Similarly, if you have an infection in your throat, it can spread to the tube that connects your nose and ear, causing infections in both areas. As a result, you may experience discomfort in your nose, ear, and throat.

ENT problems are frequent, but we try to treat them at home. How should we look at it?

Allergies and stomach issues can cause ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems. Sometimes, people mistake minor symptoms like a slight nose or throat ache for sinusitis or tonsillitis and take antibiotics. However, most of the time there is no infection. Maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding eating foods at extreme temperatures can also help. It's important not to rush to take antibiotics and instead seek medical advice before taking them.

We usually look for a solution at home but only go to the hospital when the patient is too sick. How can this habit be improved?

If we have problems with our nose, ears, or throat, we don't need to immediately go to the hospital. Instead, we can first try treating the problem at home. If the problem goes away or gets better, we don't need to go to the hospital. But if the problem persists for a day or two, or if it gets worse, then it's better to go to the hospital.

In case of ENT problems, in which case should one go to the hospital?

Bleeding from the nose can happen sometimes and it is like getting a cut in another part of our body. It can happen when there is too much pressure on us, and it can make the bleeding worse. If this happens, we should not panic and just sit down and pinch our nose. In most cases, the bleeding is not a sign of a serious illness. However, if we have a fever or the bleeding is excessive, we should go to the hospital. If it is just a simple nose bleed, we can treat it at home by just resting and waiting for it to stop. Sometimes people take medicine for a sore throat without needing it, which can be harmful if taken for too long.

Pollution is getting worse. What can regular people do to stay safe from it?

We need to wear masks to stay safe. Masks can trap dirt and germs and prevent them from entering our nose and mouth. So when we come home from work or go outside, we should clean our noses with water and rinse our mouth before doing anything else. This helps us stay healthy and avoid getting sick. We should also be careful not to overuse antibiotics. Antibiotics are important medicines that help fight infections, but we shouldn't take them for every little thing. It's a common mistake that can be harmful to our health. 


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