How To Help Relieve Cold And Upper Respiratory Symptoms
As I said earlier, viral infections can linger for two weeks or more. You may feel terrible for three or four days, but then the symptoms tend to fade away. During this time, you can try over-the-counter medications and home remedies to help relieve your symptoms:If you experience more than one of these symptoms, there are many medications that offer multi-symptom relief. Along with taking medication, stay hydrated and get rest. I know you want to get back to work and your daily life, but your body needs time to heal plus you want to avoid giving the virus to someone else.If you have a fever that lasts more than two or three days, go to the doctor. If your symptoms last more than 10 days, or if you start to get better and then get sick again, see your doctor. Antibiotics are not evil, and we shouldnt fear them. But we do need to use them responsibly to ensure they continue working when we need them for years to come.
- Cough: Expectorant or cough suppressant, steroid nasal spray, humidifier
- Nasal congestion and sinus pressure: Nasal or oral decongestant, steroid nasal spray, humidifier
- Sore throat: Lozenges, humidifier, warm teas with honey and lemon, warm water with salt gargles
- Fever: Acetaminophen,ibuprofen, or aspirin
Our doctors can assess whether an antibiotic would work for you. Schedule an appointment online or call .
How Is Watchful Waiting Done
If your doctor believes that you or your child dont need an antibiotic right away, theyll ask you to do the following:
- Closely track symptoms for several days, such as temperature, pain, cough, or runny nose. Note if symptoms worsen, stay the same, or improve.
- Take over-the-counter medications your doctor recommends to help you or your child feel better while waiting. Make sure to rest and drink extra water.
Your doctor will tell you how long to watch and wait. If your symptoms dont improve or if they worsen at the end of the watchful waiting period, call your doctor for further instructions.
When Do You Really Need Antibiotics For That Sinus Infection
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
It was February, and clinic was teeming with respiratory infections of all kinds: mostly the common cold, but also bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus infections. The patients were coming in usually thinking that they needed antibiotics for their sinus infection, or another respiratory infection.The first patient on my schedule was a healthcare provider with sinus infection written down as her main issue.* Shed had about two weeks of nasal and sinus congestion which she blamed on a viral upper respiratory infection . Her two young kids had been sick with colds all winter, so she wasnt surprised to have these symptoms, along with endless postnasal drip and a cough.
Her congestion had improved a bit at one point, and she thought that she was finally getting better. But then, the day before her appointment, she awoke with throbbing pain between her eyes, completely blocked nasal passages, and, more concerning to her, green pus oozing from her left tear duct. She had body aches, chills, and extreme fatigue.
Recommended Reading: Which Antibiotic For Dog Uti
How Can I Tell If I Need Antibiotics For A Finger Infection
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.
Why Are Antibiotics Important
When bacteria multiples, it can cause infection. Antibiotics are strong types of medications that will kill the bacteria, but an overuse has led to the bacteria developing and becoming resistant to the medications. The infections are harder to cure, so you should only take antibiotics when you really need to.
Theres no point taking the medication for a viral infection. If your doctor says that its likely viral, then youll need to allow your body to fight the infection yourself.
Of course, there are times that antibiotics are definitely necessary. Your doctor will make an assessment based on your symptoms and signs. Before you book a doctors appointment and push for the medication, look out for these seven signs that antibiotics are definitely necessary.
You May Like: Urinary Tract Infection How To Treat Without Antibiotics
Do You Need Antibiotics
There is a serious problem with overuse of antibiotics. Many antibiotic-resistant forms of bacteria are becoming a major concern. One of the most common MRSA, but there are many others. Before you jump straight to the idea that you need antibiotics to treat your infection, make sure its definitely a bacterial one.
Viral infections annoyingly have no treatments. Fungal infections need a different type of treatment. Antibiotics will kill all bacteria in the body leading to possibly other health problems afterward, such as fungal and yeast infections.
Your doctor will want to listen to all your symptoms and look at those that are visible. There are some that are more serious than others, especially discharge from wounds and rashes, that can indicate bacterial infections immediately. However, most of the time, the only way to determine if theres a bacterial infection is a culture test. Check out more info on apple cider vinegar for mucus in throat here
Could My Uti Symptoms Be A Sign Of Anything Else
Sometimes symptoms can be mistaken for a UTI but actually be caused by something else. For example, pain, burning, and stinging when passing urine can also be a sign of chlamydia, so it is important to exclude this if you are at risk.13
Needing to pass urine very frequently may also be a sign of other conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, although this is much less common than UTIs. However, it may be considered if other symptoms are present, like feeling thirsty very often.
Other less common conditions can also cause an increase in the frequency of passing urine, including a high blood level of calcium, and some medications. Blood in the urine can be a sign of lots of things other than a UTI, including kidney stones, STIs, and problems with the anatomy of the urinary tract. An examination from a medical professional and common tests if necessary can help distinguish between a UTI and another cause.
Generally speaking, UTIs are very treatable and wont always need antibiotics it just depends on the severity of your symptoms. However, if you experience symptoms and are unsure, it is always best to visit your doctor to be on the safe side, as some types of UTIs always need antibiotics.
Featured image is of a spilled bottle of pills against an orange background
Recommended Reading: How To Heal Infant Gut After Antibiotics
Key Points To Remember
- People often think antibiotics will cure their sore throat. But most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- To relieve the pain from a sore throat, you can take over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or you can try lozenges or nasal sprays. Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest.
- Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to shorten the time you are able to spread strep throatwhich is caused by bacteriato others. Antibiotics will help prevent a serious but rare problem called rheumatic fever.
- Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. And the medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it. This is called antibiotic resistance.
What Illnesses Are Caused By Viruses And Cant Be Treated By Antibiotics
The common cold and flu do not respond to antibiotics. Less than 10% of acute bronchitis cases are caused by bacteria. Most cases of acute ear infections also resolve without antibiotics.
Sore throats are usually caused by viruses as well. Antibiotics are not recommended unless you have strep throat. Only about 15% to 30% of sore throat cases in children and up to 10% of cases in adults are due to strep throat.
Almost all cases of acute bacterial sinusitis resolve without antibiotics.
The bottom line: Taking antibiotics for most acute upper respiratory tract infections does little or no good, and the downsides are real.
Don’t Miss: Kennel Cough Antibiotics For Dogs
Talk With Your Doctor If You Develop Any Side Effects Or Allergic Reactions While Taking An Antibiotic
In children, reactions from antibiotics are the most common cause of medication-related emergency department visits.
Common side effects range from minor to very severe health problems and can include:
More serious side effects can include:
- C. diff infection, which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death
- Severe and life-threatening allergic reactions
- Antibiotic-resistant infections
If you need antibiotics, the benefits usually outweigh the risks of side effects and antibiotic resistance.
What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- You’re right. Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- You’re right. Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- You’re right. Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
Don’t Miss: What All Antibiotics Cure Chlamydia
But Sometimes Antibiotics For Sinus Infections Are Needed
So how does one judge when it is appropriate to prescribe antibiotics for a sinus infection? There are several sets of official guidelines, which are all similar. When a patient has thick, colorful nasal discharge and/or facial pressure or pain for at least 10 days, they meet criteria for antibiotic treatment. If a patient has had those symptoms, but the symptoms seemed to start improving and then got worse again, then even if its been less than 10 days, they meet criteria for antibiotic treatment.
The authors, however, also suggest that doctors discuss watchful waiting with patients and explain that most sinus infections clear up on their own in one to two weeks, and its a safe option to hold off on antibiotics. The symptoms can then be treated with a cocktail of over-the-counter medications and supportive care, like nasal saline irrigation, nasal steroid sprays, decongestants, and pain medications.
Of course, many patients expect and demand antibiotics for sinus infections, and even those who are open to watchful waiting may hear about the rare but possible complications of things like, oh, brain abscess, and opt to treat.
In the case of my patient above, she met criteria for treatment. She weighed the watchful waiting option against the potential risks of antibiotics for her sinus infection, and chose the prescription. I can tell you from very close follow-up that she improved quickly, though in truth, we will never really know if she would have gotten better anyway.
Dont Be Afraid To Ask Your Doctor Questions
I would encourage parents to always ask the question of their childs doctor, Are you sure this is really absolutely necessary? Is there any chance he or she will get better without an antibiotic? Dr. Mangione-Smith said.
Sometimes, she added, doctors are concerned that if they dont give parents an antibiotic after theyve brought their child in for an evaluation, the parents will be dissatisfied and unhappy and theyre just going to go to urgent care and get the antibiotic from somebody else.
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2018 found that 46 percent of people who visited urgent care centers in 2014 for viral illnesses such as colds, the flu or viral bronchitis were prescribed antibiotics, likely unnecessarily.
Dr. Mangione-Smith, whose research has examined communication between parents, doctors and nurse practitioners at 600 pediatric appointments in Los Angeles and Seattle, found that most parents want advice from their doctors on how to help their child feel better and many are happy to be leaving without an antibiotic.
No parent likes to watch their child suffering or in pain, she said.
Recommended Reading: Gram Negative Antibiotics For Fish
Immediate Action Required: Check With A Gp Or Pharmacist Before Starting To Take Antibiotics If You:
- are taking other medicines – some antibiotics do not mix well with other medicines
- already have a medical condition – some antibiotics may not be suitable for you
- have had an allergic reaction to medicine in the past
- are trying to get pregnant, already pregnant or breastfeeding
- are taking the contraceptive pill
Theres Seeping From A Wound
If youve been injured, youll want to keep an eye on the wound as it heals. While redness and swelling are expected for a couple of days, this should disappear on its own. Its just the body healing itself and the immune system kicking in. However, there are times that bacteria get into the wound and start to multiply.
Prolonged redness, swelling, and pain are all signs that the wound has become infected with bacteria. You will then start to see some seeping from the wound. This seeping can start fluid and light but turns yellow and green. Some blood can appear depending on the wound. If left, the seeping will get worse and grow darker and more serious.
The only way to treat bacterial skin infections is through antibiotics. You will need to speak to your doctor as soon as possible, especially if youve been injured deeply or youve been through surgery. Most surgery will require days in the hospital afterward, where your health care team can test your body temperature, listen to your symptoms and check on the healing areas to make sure its clear.
A bacterial infection will also prevent the wound from healing fully. It becomes extremely painful to just touch with even clothing over time. It will also feel hot as the infection grows and you can start to gain a fever with no other cold and flu symptoms.
Take Antibiotics Exactly As Prescribed If You Need Them
Dispose of Unused Medicines
If your doctor decides an antibiotic is the best treatment when youre sick:
- Take them exactly as your doctor tells you.
- Do not share your antibiotics with others.
- Do not save them for later. Talk to your pharmacist about safely discarding leftover medicines.
- Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. This may delay the best treatment for you, make you even sicker, or cause side effects.
Talk with your doctor and pharmacist if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
When Should You Decline An Antibiotic
Though antibiotics are safe and effective ways to fight bacterial infections, you shouldn’t feel pressured to take a prescription you don’t want to. “If you aren’t comfortable with the treatment that is recommended for you, I encourage you to voice your concerns and ask for an alternative if possibleit is your body and your right to ask questions,” says Dr. Cohn. “Depending on the infection, sometimes it is reasonable to ‘watch and wait’ to see if things get better on their own before starting an antibiotic. If the infection is severe or has a risk of becoming serious, your provider will likely encourage you to start the antibiotic right away.”
Read Also: Emra Antibiotic Guide 19th Edition
How To Tell When You Need Antibiotics
In All Health Watch by Ambar JonesDecember 6, 2017
A new study may solve one of the biggest puzzles faced by family doctors.
American physicians write 47 million unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Almost all of them are for respiratory illnesses like colds and flu.
Doctors know that they are almost always caused by viruses and that antibiotics will have no effect on them. But they prescribe the drugs anyway.1
Thats because theres a tiny chance a patient could have bacterial pneumonia. Its serious and can be life threatening. And antibiotics do treat it. So out of fear they could be hit with a malpractice suit, doctors reach for their prescription pad.
The resulting antibiotic overuse has given rise to deadly antibiotic-resistant germs. They are virtually untreatable. These superbugs now kill more than 23,000 Americans a year.2
Whats more, antibiotics have serious side effects.
They can cause permanent, disabling damage to muscles, joints, and nerves. And they destroy beneficial probiotic gut bacteria that are important for digestion, immunity, and brain function. Plus, they have been linked to cancer and type 2 diabetes. So you dont want to take antibiotics if you dont have to.