Spaniards are the Europeans who most use antibiotics to fight the symptoms of flu. However flu is a virus and hence this type of medication has not effect whatsoever. These two facts are highlighted in a report by the European Commission that is concerned over the abuse of antibiotics.
The report shows that 32 per cent of Spaniards mistakenly use antibiotics when they have flu with Austrians close behind them on 31 per cent and Cypriots with 28 per cent. The average European misuse of this medication is 20 per cent.
The EC wants to highlight the risks of misusing antibiotics in this way. Not only do they have no effect but it also builds the patient’s immunity to these drugs making them less effective when prescribed correctly.
Spaniards fair better in the use of antibiotics to fight the common cold. Whilst 24 per cent use them so do 40 per cent of Rumanians, 32per cent of Bulgarians, 30 per cent of Lithuanians and 27 per cent of Greeks and Cypriots.
Sixty-three per cent of Spaniards as against 53 per cent of Europeans wrongly believe that antibiotics can kill a virus whilst 61 per cent of Spaniards – 47 per cent of Europeans believe it can combat the effects of the flu or a cold.
In the antibiotic consumption league in the EU Spain comes third after Italy and Malta whilst the Germans, Slovaks and Swedes consume the drug the least.
To learn that popping antibiotics indiscriminately does more harm than good may be a bitter pill to swallow. But not as bitter as discovering that downing antibiotics for the correct illnesses does not work in the future because these drugs have been abused in the past.