You have a sore throat and runny nose 1, 2 so is it time for an antibiotic, or should you try to fight your symptoms with over-the-counter remedies?

For a start, it’s important to know that common colds and flu are upper respiratory tract infections caused by a virus 1, 2 and while antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, they are unfortunately not effective against viral infections like the common cold and the flu 3, 4.

Most sore throats are generally not serious and usually improve within a week 5. People often think that having a clear runny nose that changes to yellow-green, and developing a cough is a sign of a secondary bacterial infection, but this is not always the case 6.While some of the symptoms of cold and flu are a nuisance, they are your body’s response to the infection and actually help to fight it 2.

The problem is that using antibiotics for viral upper respiratory tract infections which are not severe, adds to the increase of antibiotic resistance 6,which has become a major health problem worldwide.

As a result, almost every type of bacteria has become stronger and thus doesn’t respond as well to antibiotic treatment when it is really needed. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria can quickly spread 4,causing a problem in cases where antibiotic effectiveness is specifically required.

For infections where your doctor does prescribe an antibiotic, it is important that you take the medicine exactly as instructed. Don’t skip doses and be sure to finish the course of antibiotics even if you are feeling better.

Don’t save some of your antibiotic for the next time you get sick. It’s also important that you don’t share antibiotics with anyone else, because the antibiotic may not be the right drug for their illness, they may be allergic, and may even delay them getting better 4.

When you have a cold or flu, resting and using over-the-counter medications to treat your symptoms can go a long way to helping you feel better 3, 7. Adcock Ingram’s Corenza Para-C Effervescent is an effective multi-action cold and flu fighter 8.

It is non-sedating and provides relief of mild to moderate pain and fever, blocked nose and sinus congestion associated with colds and flu 8. It’s suitable for patients who cannot tolerate aspirin or suffer from dyspepsia, peptic ulcers and renal dysfunction. Plus, its sugar free 8. So while it won’t stop you getting a cold or flu, it will help you feel much better while your body fights the infection!

References:

  1. Pray WC, JJ Pray. Is It a Cold, Influenza, or Pneumonia? US Pharmacist. 2004;29(1):1-5
  2. Eccles R. Understanding the symptoms of the common cold and influenza. Lancet Infect Dis 2005;5: 718–725
  3. Centres For Disease Control And Prevention. Get Smart: Common Cold and Runny Nose. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention [online] 2013. [cited 2014, June 18]. Available from URL: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/colds.html.
  4. Centres For Disease Control And Prevention. Get Smart: Antibiotic Resistance Questions and Answers. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention [online] 2013. [cited 2014, June 20]. Available from URL: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/antibiotic-resistance-faqs.html
  5. Oxford JS, Leuwer M. Acute sore throat revisited: clinical and experimental evidence for the efficacy of over-the-counter AMC ⁄ DCBA throat lozenges. Int J Clin Pract, May 2011:65(5):524–530
  6. Working Group of the Infectious Diseases Society of Southern Africa. Updated guideline for the management of upper respiratory tract infections in South Africa: 2008. SA Fam Pract 2009;51(2):105-114
  7. Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center. Flu or Cold Symptoms? WebMD [online]. [cited 2014, June 18]. Available from URL: Available from http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/flu-cold-symptoms?page=2&print=true.
  8. Corenza Para-C Effervescent Tablets Approved packaged insert, 1995

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