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By Terence G. Brady
Brady Chiropractic 

Antibiotics don't work for cold and flu symptoms

Dr. Brady the ‘Spine Guy’


However many doctors still prescribe them:

According to a recent study published by the British Medical Journal Lancet, about a third of the patients who go to their doctor for upper respiratory tract infections are diagnosed with acute rhinosinusitis (cold), and 80% of those patients receive antibiotics, even though doctors don’t have a clear distinction between a viral or a bacterial infection.

Why is this, an important distinction? It’s important because while bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, viral infections cannot. If you take antibiotics for a viral infection, they won’t help and actually may harm you. The Centers for Disease Control emphasizes this point on its Web site.

You should be aware that colds, flu and most sore throats, and bronchitis are caused by viruses. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.

The Lancet study involved 2,547 adults with clinical signs of rhinosinusitis. The researchers determined that the guidelines suggesting antibiotics be administered after 7 days of symptoms were not supported by the evidence. They concluded that in general, adults diagnosed with acute rhinosinusitis should not receive antibiotics regardless of their symptoms, due to the risks for adverse side effects and increased antimicrobial resistance.

No one enjoys being sick, but antibiotics are not the answer, particularly for common cold and flu symptoms. While cold symptoms aren’t pleasant, Mom’s homemade remedies of chicken soup, vitamins and fluids will be more effective and a lot less risky.

Prevention seems to the more successful approach to the common cold and the much more serious, flu. Practicing good hygiene and making sure that you wash your hands regularly is one method of prevention. Other preventative measures would include a healthy diet and a regular exercise program. From a chiropractic point of view, regular treatment to ensure that your nerve systems are working on all cylinders is very important. Viruses, bacteria and many allergens need a compromised immune system to thrive and survive, so keeping the nerves free from interference seems to be an excellent idea.


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