As someone who constantly gets bronchitis due to not having the proper enzymes to fight the infection, and because of the way I dress (I don't get cold easily so sometimes I wear clothing that would be traditionally worn in spring or fall, in winter. Anyway...), I do, in fact, get bronchitis constantly, and the only thing that helps me treat it is Azithromycin (A.K.A. Z-Pack). I have been prone to bronchitis for nearly 14 years, and without the Z-Pack, it takes over a month to get rid of. This past year I had bronchitis twice, and for 2 months. When I used the antibiotics, I got better faster than any other times I'd had bronchitis before. Seven weeks into being sick, I took an Azithromycin pack (a five day treatment), and was cured of my bronchitis two days after my bronchitis. I think my immune system was pending a cure. I haven't had bronchitis yet this year, 2016, and I'm glad my body now knows how to use its enzymes to treat my feud with bronchitis. Without the antibiotics, I would have gotten Pneumonia, which I have gotten before. I got pneumonia when I was 4 from bronchitis, and the doctor refused to give me antibiotics. And it triggered pneumonia. Doctors should give patients with bronchitis antibiotics. It's the healthier route. On the other hand, if we build up a tolerance to antibiotics, when we get sick, even the smallest little headache, could cause us incredible pain because our bodies wouldn't be able to create the enzymes needed to prevent sickness. And, especially with the incredible antibiotics scientists have come up with, our bodies won't be able to handle small nuisances that we would have previously been able to prevent. Only in extreme circumstances, should doctors give antibiotics to people with bronchitis, and definitely not to small children who are still developing their bodies.
If the doctor has reason to believe the infection is caused by a bacteria, then absolutely they should prescribe an antibiotic. That's responsible medicine. However, if they doctor is unsure or thinks it's a viral infection, then they should not prescribe an antibiotic just because a patient feels they should get one. Antibiotics are useless against viruses, and can cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria when prescribed incorrectly.
Doctors should absolutely give antibiotics for bronchitis and other major infections. Letting infections run their course is not a viable solution. Many people suffer consequences from not receiving proper treatment. If antibiotics can help, why would we not want them? It's silly to not use everything at your disposal to get better.
I understand the concern for antibiotic resistant bacteria, but when the body is so compromised that it can't fight a bad infection, antibiotics are needed for that little extra boost. Some of these infections can diminish the body to the point of knocking on deaths door. Antibiotics can make the difference between life and death at that point. We may be going too far by withholding antibiotics altogether.
Antibiotics are one of the major reasons that humans have a longer life span than they had 100 years ago. Before, even a mild illness could kill a person. Today, a person can take an antibiotic and recover quite quickly. It would be a shame to watch people needless die just so that we as a public body can say that we don't use antibiotics.
I think prescribing too much antibiotics is very dangerous for the humanity in the long run. The diseases are adapting rapidly to our weapons and developing them cost too much as it is. Researching new antibiotics couldn't be more expensive and doctors are really quick on the prescribing pen, they should think more before.