August 04, 2014

Should You Take Antibiotics For A Cold?

A study reported in the journal Lancet of 2,547 adults with clinical signs and symptoms of rhinosinusitis (nasal discharge, discomfort in the cheeks and/or face, cough, cold) looked at how many of these patients were prescribed antibiotics after seven days of symptoms.

The basis of the study was the concept that antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, but not against viral infections.  It was unclear whether the doctors could distinguish the cause of the upper respiratory infections, but still 80% of the patients were given a prescription for antibiotics.

The Centers for Disease Control maintains that "colds, flu, most sore throats and bronchitis are caused by viruses.  Not only will antibiotics not help fight viruses, but, if taken unnecessarily, they can increase the risk of later getting an infection that resists antibiotic treatment."

The conclusion of the study was that, in general, adults with upper respiratory tract infections should not be prescribed antibiotics regardless of their symptoms.

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc.,
Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics
(661) 325-1275 |
5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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