Antibiotics Do Not Cure These Common Ailments

Antibiotics Do Not Cure These Common Ailments

Common illnesses are usually viral and DO NOT respond to antibiotics.  In fact, here are some fast facts on them:

  • Sore throats- only 5-10% of sore throats are caused by strep and would require antibiotics. 
    • Viral sore throats are often accompanied by a cough, runny nose, irritated eyes and hoarseness.  In fact, a strep test usually isn't necessary when you have all these symptoms
    • Sore throats due to allergies, post-nasal drip and reflux from your stomach can also occur
    • Bacterial sore throats usually have a sudden onset, fever (101 or higher), white patches and much worse symptoms (WITHOUT the symptoms of a common cold being present)
  • Bronchitis- more than 90% are viral
    • If the cough is accompanied by a fever over 101, rapid breathing or pulse, or feeling faint then see the healthcare provider.
  • Ear pain- usually this is due to allergies, fluid in the inner ear, a cold, or change in elevation
  • Common cold- runny nose, nasal congestion, eye irritation and a sore throat can be caused by more than 200 viral "bugs" which fall under the category of viral illness, rhinosinusitis (like common sinus infections) and do not need antibiotics
  • The Flu- some confuse this with the stomach flu, but generally we talk about the respiratory illness called influenza.  It will make you feel terrible with a cough, body aches, fever, chills and feeling run down, however most can recover by treating the symptoms at home.
  • THE EXCEPTION TO THIS IS WHEN YOU HAVE A CHRONIC HEALTH PROBLEM OR YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS COMPROMISED- in that case you may need to see the healthcare provider to make sure you are not having any complications of the viral illness.  This would include those with diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, HIV and other chronic health problems.

Most people have a healthy immune system, and can fight off these common illnesses.  For most, rest, fluids, a healthy diet, and a fever/pain reliever will be beneficial.  Many feel that with respiratory illness, tea with honey and lemon helps with the cough, cuts the mucous and soothes the throat.  Warm steam or compresses to the face will also bring some relief to those with nasal congestion or viral sinus infection symptoms.

Do your part in keeping yourself healthy and the community healthy.  Wash your hands, especially before eating, or touching your eyes or nose.  When ill, listen to your body and stay home.  If you visit your doctor and do not receive an antibiotic, don't be disappointed.  Viral illnesses can make you feel terrible, and your concern is not being dismissed.  Rather, ask how you can take care of yourself at home while you recover.  If your symptoms worsen or persist, then ask for a re-evaluation.

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