Antibiotics will not get rid of your cold
|Antibiotics will not get rid of your cold|
|Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:06|
That’s the message from NHS Hertfordshire who are supporting European Antibiotics Awareness Day on 18 November 2012.
Patients who have winter illnesses don’t usually need antibiotics as most coughs and sore throats are caused by viruses. Antibiotics don’t work on viruses so prescribing them to a patient means that they are taking the medicine unnecessarily.
The more frequently antibiotics are used the greater the chance that bacteria will adapt and find ways to become resistant so eventually, the antibiotic no longer works. Some bacteria that cause serious infections, such as MRSA, have already become resistant to several antibiotics.
Heather Gray, Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management at NHS Hertfordshire said, ”The best way to treat most colds, coughs or sore throats is to drink plenty of fluids and to rest. Colds can sometimes last around two weeks and they just need to be left to run their course. You can get advice from your pharmacist and there are many over the counter remedies to ease your symptoms – paracetamol, for example.
“If your cold lasts more than three weeks, or you become breathless or have chest pains, or already have a chest complaint, that’s when you should see your doctor.
“It’s particularly common for children to get coughs and colds, especially when they go to school and mix with other children. If the symptoms persist and you are concerned, see your doctor but you shouldn’t expect to be prescribed antibiotics.
“Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics when you need them, for example for a kidney infection or pneumonia. Antibiotics may be life-saving for infections such as meningitis. By not using them unnecessarily, they are more likely to work when we need them.”