As this mild flu season comes into a late peak, a reminder has gone out about antibiotics: they don’t work for most coughs, sniffles, and sinus pains. Those are almost all caused by viruses, which antibiotics don’t treat (and with antibiotic resistance mounting, they barely treat an increasing number of bacteria these days!).
Overprescribing antibiotics leads to more problems—more antibiotic resistance, more virulent strains, more severe symptoms when antibiotics are prescribed. And as great as antibiotics can be when used judiciously, they are also responsible for 1 in 5 emergency room visits (allergies, and severe diarrhea—antibiotics kill off your good bacteria, allowing the ones that make you sick, like C. diff, to take hold.).
If you drag yourself to your doctor and they refuse to prescribe you antibiotics, you’ve probably got a good one. They will likely also recommend against taking too much Tylenol, which can cause liver problems, and might recommend some home treatments. If they don’t (or you want to save yourself a trip), here are some other ideas:
Most people know that doctors will recommend rest, fluids, and getting some good nutrition—so start there! When people start to get fed up, it’s when
-They have a cough that lasts a few weeks. Being sick for more than a few days really puts things in perspective, and reminds us to appreciate our good health. Cough medicine can help, but may not be ideal if you’re returning to work. Try hot water (or healthy tea!) with honey.
-A sinus infection is running amok. The sinus pressure and pain. The drip. You can’t sleep, it’s hard to focus on work, you’re soggy and miserable. Try a sinus flood to alleviate symptoms by soaking than washing out all that mucus. (Instructions here!)
-Sore throats. While they often accompany coughing and sinus infections (so tackle those first and treat a sore throat as secondary) it can sometimes be due to its own infection. Just keep supporting yourself with rest and fluids as much as you can.
For extra support, make sure you’re taking colloidal silver.
When do you need antibiotics? When the mucus and other crud caused by a viral infection clogs things up, and allows bacteria to grow, potentially blocking airways and leading to pneumonia. See a doctor if you have severe or worsening respiratory pain, especially chest pains (not the heart attack kind, though that warrants a doctor visit, too—the trouble breathing kind). Keep in mind that tuberculosis occasionally pops up in the US, so certain cities might be putting out stronger recommendations about seeing a doctor with signs of flu at any moment (there’s an outbreak in the South right now).
If you do need antibiotics, make sure you take a probiotic at different times of day to protect your good bacteria so you’re not one of those developing secondary problems like diarrhea.
What are your favorite home remedies?