Why Antibiotics are not always the answer
A lot of medical conditions including Respiratory infections like common cold, flu, sinus infection, Tonsillitis, Laryngitis, Bronchitis are caused by Viruses. They are often referred to as Viral infections.
For any Viral infection, there is no need to treat with antibiotics as they will not be effective against viruses. Viral infection usually go away on their own (usually within 2 weeks).
If you take an antibiotic when you don’t need it – for example, when you have a cold or the flu – it can make you feel worse and make your illness last longer. In fact, when used the wrong way, antibiotics can cause more severe illnesses like diarrhoea, nausea and rashes.
Taking an antibiotic when you don’t need it can also make your body resistant to antibiotics – meaning the next time you really need antibiotics to fight a bacterial infection, they may not work as well to cure you.
Here are some of the things to do on your own to get better and avoid the spread of the infection:
- Regular Hand washing with warm water and soap – after sneezing, coughing, use of toilets, before cooking and eating.
- Use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, and bin the used tissues as quickly as possible.
- Lots of rest, sleep and drink plenty of fluids (water, fruit juice or squash mixed with water)
- Take painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen to bring down fever, ease headache, muscle pain, sore throat.
- Raise your head up while sleeping using extra pillows to make breathing easier.
- Avoid hot liquids and food, take soft food and lukewarm beverages if you have got a sore throat.
- Gargle salt water to soothe sore throat (for 18yrs and above).
- Avoid contact with people until better and stay away from infected persons to avoid spread of the infection.
See your GP if you have any of the following:
No improvement of symptoms after 3 weeks, symptoms suddenly gets worse, chest pain, difficulty breathing /shortness of breath, coughing up blood, unwell, confusion, presence of other long term medical conditions or weakened immune systems or you have any further concerns.