Real People Stories – Kate

How to understand whether to take antibiotics or not. 

Now, in this difficult time after the pandemic, I would like to draw your attention to such an important and simple, at the same time, complete blood count or CBC test, which can help make the correct diagnosis and prevent the unjustified prescription of unnecessary drugs.

I often hear from people around me: “Oh, on the first day of fever, I need to start taking antibiotics urgently; it will help protect against the crown, and even better, I’ll drink it for prevention.”

No, my dears, it doesn’t work that way. Corona is a virus, and antibiotics are prescribed if bacterial flora is present (not earlier than 4-5 days) and bacterial complications occur.

Antibiotics do not affect the virus, but they seriously reduce immunity.

To avoid unnecessary CBC risks, it is better to take a test for procalcitonin – an indicator of bacterial pneumonia.

Its increase will be a good reason to take antibiotics, naturally, in agreement with your doctor.

Why does this topic bother me so much? It’s because it’s not a problem of just one organism.

Global Impact of Antibiotic Overuse

Overprescription of antibiotics with or without reason, and especially incorrect regimens that do not kill bacteria but only strengthen and cause the development of bacterial resistance to them, provokes global resistance to antibiotics, and this is scary. Because the time may come when no antibiotic will work, and humanity will begin to die from the simplest and most banal bacterial diseases.

Some drink indiscriminately, and then everyone suffers.

So let’s show collective awareness 🙏

Insights

What else can this analysis show:

  • Presence of anaemia and blood diseases
  • The presence of inflammation in the body and the body’s response to this inflammation
  • Signs of allergy
  • and possible signs of helminthic invasion

To begin with, it is important to determine that it is necessary to take a test with a clinical CBC analysis to determine the leukocyte formula and ESR. Otherwise, many laboratories do an abbreviated study suitable for assessing the “red” blood-erythrocytes, platelets and haemoglobin.

“White” blood refers to leukocytes, the immune cells.

The bone marrow forms all these elements—erythrocytes, platelets, and leukocytes—and performs different functions. Red blood cells carry oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.

Platelets take part in the blood coagulation system. And leukocytes protect our body.

I want to give you an example and a simple formula for distinguishing a viral infection from a bacterial one in a general CBC blood exam without further ado.

Signs of a bacterial infection

  • Elevated monocytes.

Monocytes are the eaters of everything foreign that enters our body.

This is the body’s nonspecific defence against pathogens. Therefore, it will be high with any viral and bacterial infection. It is not a specific indicator.

  • Increased neutrophils.

They are the direct eaters of bacteria (and occasionally fungi).

They damage the bacterial membrane with lysozyme and stimulate the production of interferon.

An increase in CBC band cells means inflammation or infection.

A decrease in the proportion of rods indicates a decrease in immunity, depletion of resources, or long-term chronic sluggish inflammation.

  • Increased leukocytes.

The main areas in the inflammatory processes.

  • High ESR

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate,

Although they write standards up to 15, this figure should be at most 10.

  • Normal or decreased lymphocyte counts.

They form specific immunity.

Signs of a viral infection

  • Elevated monocytes.
  • Increased lymphocytes
  • Reduced or normal neutrophils
  • Decreased or normal white blood cells
  • Elevated or normal ESR.

If there is a viral infection, antibiotics are not prescribed!!!

About me

I underwent testing in government CBC-trained institutions a long time ago. Private clinics offer a comprehensive list of available tests; doctors sometimes only provide referrals for necessary tests.

At a private laboratory, you make just one contact and v, andsit; you can receive all results via email. I will tell you two of my clinical cases and show you that mistakes can happen.

What happened

I had a fever, a stuffy nose, a cough and a general feeling of malaise. This coincided with the fact that my boss at work, with whom I had contact a couple of days before the onset of symptoms, fell ill with corona.

They urgently administered PCR swabs for COVID to everyone and sent them home.

With my complaints, I stayed home even after the negative smear. However, the cough, persistent sinusitis, and fever were to the CBC doctor prescribing antibiotics. Initially, they prescribed azithromycin for three days. Since there was no improvement, they extended the prescription for another three days.

After which the temperature continued to persist and I decided to look at the blood clinic.

Haemoglobin and Iron Status

This analysis begins with haemoglobin, an indicator of anaemia. At first glance, 135 is an excellent indicator, the golden mean.

If it weren’t for one “but”, I’d been fighting for my iron for over 10 years, and on the same day, the ferritin test showed the number 18 with the minimum norm being 30 and the adequate norm being 60.

This does not mean that the indicators are wrong; this is called latent iron deficiency, i.e. hidden.

So don’t rush to rejoice at your high haemoglobin.

MCV – mean corpuscular volume.

Laboratory references are 80-10, but a reading below 87 is already a reason to check ferritin.

MCV above 90 is a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can also cause iron deficiency.

I have 92; I can safely add B vitamins.

Immune Response

  • Leukocytes 4.06 – decreased
  • Neutrophils 40 – decreased
  • However, monocytes and lymphocytes are elevated.
  • Eosinophils – decreased

This indicates reduced immunity and depletion of the body’s resources.

If eosinophils increase above 4, this may indicate a helminthic invasion; taking an eosinophilic cationic protein test is also necessary.

Therefore, ESR is normal despite the general CBC picture of viral inflammation in the body in the blood and clinically high temperature with due symptoms.

The body became tired of fighting and surrendered its defence.

We look at the above instructions and understand that we have a typical viral inflammation. It cannot be treated with antibiotics, so even a double course did not relieve me. On the contrary, each such unjustified prescription further reduces my immunity.

Diagnosis and Conclusion

However, the PCR was negative, as were the antibodies taken later, as was the X-ray.

I conclude that it was a seasonal infection, ARVI, which coincided with the boss’s illness and caused panic.

2 clinical cases

Also, after contact with a COVID patient, my temperature rose, and I developed a cough.

The CBC analysis was submitted to a laboratory. And it’s a little more narrowed compared to the previous analysis.

Lymphocytes are reduced, and neutrophils and ESR are increased; there are signs of bacterial inflammation. However, C-reactive protein, a general inflammatory response, is normal.

As well as other indicators.

The temperature developed a few days after contact, so if we suspect COVID-19, there should be a viral response at the beginning. After a week of illness, signs of viral inflammation and a picture of bacterial dominance will appear. From this, we dare to hope that it is not COVID-19.

The cough and fever then coincided with the onset of an allergic reaction.

Prescription of antibiotics is also unfounded; treating the allergy and observing and monitoring the blood with CBC exams is necessary.

In these challenging times, when there are not enough GPs for everyone, and they are overloaded with work, patients often self-prescribe antibiotics based only on general complaints. I believe everyone should be able to interpret a blood test themselves and seek help from their doctor if any CBC doubts arise.

Good health to everyone; I hope my post was useful to you.