Tis' the season for coughs, colds, and congestion. Extra added bonus of COVID-19 this year too! Here are some things to know about antibiotics
1. Antibiotics do not act against common colds, COVID, and flu as they are caused by viruses. Most bronchitis and sinus infections are also viral and do not need antibiotics. Doctors recommend waiting for at least 7-10 days of symptoms before starting antibiotics.
2. Some consumers think it's a good idea to take antibiotics even if there's little chance they will help. Not true. Antibiotics can cause side effects, including diarrhea and rash, in a significant number of people. What's more, the overuse of antibiotics may cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics - making them harder to treat in the future
3. Many patients will request antibiotics to PREVENT bacterial infection. Treating viral infections with antibiotics in order to prevent bacterial infections is not recommended because of the risk of causing bacterial resistance
4. The color of your mucous does not mean you need an antibiotic. When the white blood cells in the mucosa encounter an irritant or infectious organism, they respond by producing enzymes to repel the invaders. These enzymes contain iron, and that’s what gives the nasal discharge the green color. And if the mucus sits around, it becomes more concentrated and so may appear darker yellow or green. This is the natural order of things, whether the offending agent is a virus (which is the most common cause of sinus infection) or a bacterium.
5. So why does my doctor keep giving me antibiotics when my snot is green? Good question! If most sinus infections are viral, and viral infections will not improve with antibiotics, it makes little sense to treat every episode of thick, green mucus with antibiotics. Yet some patients request it and many doctors continue to prescribe them. It’s likely that the improvement that follows antibiotic treatment would have happened even without antibiotics.