Should antibiotics be prescribed for the common cold?

The question is not an uncommon one, especially during the winter months when colds spread more easily because of close contact between people who are spending more time indoors. Children in daycare and school are especially susceptible.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for the common cold since its caused by hundreds of viruses. There is no vaccine for the viruses and antibiotics are not affective at fighting such bugs. Antibiotics can be used to fight bacterial infections, but not viral ones such as the common cold.

Viral infections can sometimes lead to bacterial infections, but treating viruses with antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections does not work. It is not only harmful, but can lead to infections with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Each time we take antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones might be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and improper use of antibiotics are some of the main causes of increased resistant bacteria today.

You can protect yourself and your children by using antibiotics only when her doctor says they are necessary. When prescribed an antibiotic, make to take it the entire recommended course. Never save antibiotics for later use.

Common colds, which can cause a runny and/or congested nose, fever and tiredness, usually last about a week. Fever can appear at the beginning of the cold and then go away. Symptoms can be relieved with simple home remedies such as a cool-mist humidifier, lots of fluids and rest. If your cold is accompanied by fever, decongestants and acetominophen might be needed.

You should contact your physician if your fever continues to rise and if symptoms worsen after a week. Also, call if you have problems breathing or have an earache or sore throat that lasts more 24 hours.

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