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Antibiotics for the common cold - should they be used

Antibiotics for the common cold - should they be used

Małgorzata Kruk (MPharm)

 Many people with a common cold ask the physician to prescribe antibiotics. This is a mistake because antibiotics do not help treat the common cold and may lead to you body developing resistance to the antibiotics.

When you catch a common cold, you usually feel worse day after day, the symptoms of the infection (rhinitis, sore throat, fever, hoarseness, and conjunctivitis) become more and more intense and then you usually start wondering what medication to use in order to effectively fight the cold. It turns out that there are many proven home remedies for the common cold and effective combined products available over the counter in pharmacies. However, an antibiotic is not a good solution for treating the common cold.

A typical common cold, namely the infection of the upper respiratory tract, is caused by viruses (usually rhinoviruses). Fighting a common cold should consist, firstly, of treating the symptoms. We can eliminate the symptoms of the disease by using anti fever medications or medications which fight persistent rhinitis or coughing. In the case of the common cold, one should not use antibiotics! Antibiotics fight bacteria, while the common cold is a viral infection which antibiotics cannot cure.

Therefore, if the viral infection of the upper respiratory tract is not very severe, try treating yourself using over the counter medications available in pharmacies. Under no circumstances should you use antibiotics on your own to treat a regular, common cold in autumn.

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This information is provided for your reference only and it is not to be relied upon on its own as instructions for use of this medication. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Other than liability for death or personal injury arising out of our negligence, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise.

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