Using Vitamins Minerals Herbal And Natural Medicines
All medicines, including supplements and complementary medicines, can have unwanted effects and interactions with other medicines. In addition, some complementary medicines may not have been tested in the same way as prescription medicines, especially in children.
Complementary medicines that have been used to treat the common cold include the following.
- Vitamin C may reduce the duration or severity of cold symptoms if taken before a cold starts, but has not been shown to prevent colds.
- Zinc lozenges may shorten the length of a cold and reduce symptom severity if taken when cold symptoms first start. Zinc can have side effects, so check with your doctor before taking it.
- Echinacea preparations differ greatly and many have not been tested in good-quality clinical trials. Echinacea has not yet been shown to help prevent or treat colds.
How Do Doctors Treat Viral Gastroenteritis
Your doctor may prescribe medicine to control severe vomiting. Doctors dont prescribe antibiotics to treat viral gastroenteritis. Antibiotics dont work for viral infections.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend probiotics. Probiotics are live microbes, most often bacteria, that are like the ones you normally have in your digestive tract. Studies suggest that some probiotics may help shorten a case of diarrhea. Researchers are still studying the use of probiotics to treat viral gastroenteritis. For safety reasons, talk with your doctor before using probiotics or any other complementary or alternative medicines or practices.
Anyone with signs or symptoms of dehydration should see a doctor right away. Doctors may need to treat people with severe dehydration in a hospital.
The Defensive Role Of Gut Bacteria
How exactly did ingesting antibiotics weaken the mice before their exposure to the flu? The researchers may have an explanation for this phenomenon.
As part of the study, the team also found that type I interferon signaling a form of protein signaling that regulates the response of a type of cell that lines the lungs is key to stopping the flu virus from replicating in the lungs.
Usually, gut bacteria would drive interferon signaling, telling the lung cells to react to the virus, stopping it from replicating, and thus making survival and recovery more likely.
We were surprised to discover that the cells lining the lung, rather than immune cells, were responsible for early flu resistance induced by microbiota, notes Wack.
The process by which antibiotics seem to render the lungs more vulnerable to viral infections is a complex one, and it relates, in part, to when and how the immune response occurs.
Gut bacteria usually send interferon signals that switch on the antiviral gene Mx1 in mice, corresponding to a similar gene called MxA in humans. However, antibiotic treatment delays the switching on of the antiviral gene, affecting the efficiency of the response that the body initiates against the virus.
It takes around 2 days for immune cells to mount a response, in which time the virus is multiplying in the lung lining, explains Wack.
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What Else Can I Do To Prevent Getting Colds And The Flu
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcoholic hand wipes. Cold and flu viruses are spread by touching your nose or mouth after touching an infected person, breathing in the air of an infected person’s sneeze or cough, or touching objects that have come in contact with the virus and then touching your nose.
Other prevention tips are to eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of liquids , and avoid close contact with people who have colds. Also, get an annual flu vaccine.
How Antibiotics May Render Flu Infections More Dangerous
Doctors already know that misusing antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance, which can make it difficult to fight bacterial infections, such as pneumonia. Now, a study in mice suggests that antibiotic use could also make the lungs more vulnerable to viral infections, such as the flu.
Antibiotic resistance has become a pressing issue for researchers and healthcare professionals. This phenomenon occurs when a bacterial infection no longer responds to the antibiotics that doctors typically use to treat it.
This resistance often develops due to the misuse or overuse of antibiotics, as many individuals across the world mistakenly opt for antibiotics to treat viral infections, such as the influenza virus , against which these drugs are ineffective.
A new study in mice by researchers from the Francis Crick Institute in London, United Kingdom, now suggests that antibiotics could actually also prime the lungs for viral infections.
The researchers findings, which feature in the journal , also show that gut bacteria drive a type of protein signaling that helps the cells that line the lungs keep the flu virus from spreading.
Antibiotic use, it seems, interferes with this protein signaling and thus impairs this first line of defense.
We found that antibiotics can wipe out early flu resistance, adding further evidence that they should not be taken or prescribed lightly, explains lead researcher Andreas Wack, Ph.D.
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How Can We Treat A Cold Or Flu Virus
You might have heard the phrase that a virus has to run its course. This means waiting for your bodys immune system to fight off the viral infection by itself by activating an immune response. If you have a cold or the flu, during this time you might experience symptoms like:
- a runny or blocked nose
- sore throat
How To Avoid Spreading The Flu
Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people. You’re more likely to give it to other people in the first 5 to 6 days of getting flu.
Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes. They can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
To reduce the risk of spreading flu:
- wash your hands often with warm water and soap
- use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
- bin used tissues as quickly as possible
- try to avoid all unnecessary contact with others
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands as this helps spreads the flu virus
- clean surfaces and items inside the house regularly
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Who Cannot Take Antibiotics
It is very rare for anyone not to be able to take some type of antibiotic. The main reason why you may not be able to take an antibiotic is if you have had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic in the past. Even if you have had an allergic reaction to one antibiotic, your doctor or health professional will be able to choose a different type of antibiotic, which you will be able to take. If you are pregnant, there are certain antibiotics you should not take, but your health professional will be able to advise on which one is suitable if an antibiotic is needed. If you are on some medication, certain antibiotics may need to be avoided, or your regular medication stopped whilst you take the antibiotic. As above, when prescribed an antibiotic, make sure the prescriber knows about any other medication you take.
How to use the Yellow Card Scheme
If you think you have had a side-effect to one of your medicines you can report this on the Yellow Card Scheme. You can do this online at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
The Yellow Card Scheme is used to make pharmacists, doctors and nurses aware of any new side-effects that medicines or any other healthcare products may have caused. If you wish to report a side-effect, you will need to provide basic information about:
- The side-effect.
- The name of the medicine which you think caused it.
- The person who had the side-effect.
- Your contact details as the reporter of the side-effect.
Viruses Arent Affected By Antibiotics
If you have a runny nose, sore throat and you feel bad, that is what we call a classic influenza-like illness. That is a virus 99.9 percent of the time that is causing those symptoms. Antibiotics will not help get you better.
You wouldnt take high blood pressure medicine if you didnt have high blood pressure. Thats about the simplest way to explain what happens when antibiotics are prescribed in the wrong instances. Viruses arent affected by antibiotics at all.
If you ask a physician on paper whether or not antibiotics can help something like the flu, they will always say no. But its a different scenario when they are staring into the eyes of a worried parent with a sick child. If the parent asks for an antibiotic just in case many times a physician will cave and prescribe it against their better judgment. So its important to educate the parents to know the risks from and giving antibiotics to their children unnecessarily.
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Will Antibiotics Help The Flu
Antibiotics have no effect on the flu. The drugs wont relieve your symptoms, reduce the length of your illness or boost your immunity to other germs. Sure, you may feel better after taking antibiotics, for a simple reason: You were already on the road to recovery. We all tend to seek treatment when our symptoms are at their peak. Over the next few days, as the virus runs its course, you start to feel better. But that would have happened even without medication.
Sometimes, antibiotics can actually make you feel worse. Antibiotics are generally quite safe, but they do carry some risk, says Daniel Knecht, MD, MBA, VP of clinical strategy and policy for Aetna. They may cause diarrhea, allergic reactions and various other side effects. Its something to keep in mind if youre tempted to take unnecessary antibiotics just in case.
Be Medicinewise With Antibiotics
- Take your antibiotics at the right time, and for as long as directed.
- Dont take more than the dose your doctor has prescribed sometimes the medicine box may contain more antibiotic pills than you will be instructed to take.
- Dont keep unused antibiotics for another time return leftover pills to your pharmacy for disposal.
- Dont share antibiotics with others they may have a different infection and this can lead to antibiotic resistance.
The Consumer Medicine Information for your medicine lists useful information including how to take your antibiotic and what to do if you miss a dose. The CMI will list the usual dose, but sometimes your doctor will prescribe a different dose that is more suitable for you.
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Can I Help Prevent Antibiotic Resistance
Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic consumption in the developed world, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.
- Understand that colds and flu are caused by viruses, and that antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viruses
- Tell your doctor you only want an antibiotic if it is really necessary
- Take the right dose of your antibiotic at the right time, as prescribed by your doctor
- Take your antibiotic for as long as your doctor tells you to
- Take the pledge to fight antibiotic resistance and encourage your friends and family to as well.
Soothing A Sore Throat
- Gargle with warm, salty water or suck an ice cube or a throat lozenge.
- Pain-relieving medicines such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin may ease the pain of a sore throat. Check the label to ensure the medicine is suitable. Remember NEVER to give aspirin to anyone under 18 years of age unless prescribed by your doctor, as it can cause serious harm.
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Got The Flu Antibiotics Arent For You
The wrong tool for the jobWhat should you do if youre sick?
Geisinger Health Plan may refer collectively to Geisinger Health Plan, Geisinger Quality Options Inc., and Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, unless otherwise noted. Geisinger Gold Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and HMO D-SNP plans are offered by Geisinger Health Plan/Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, health plans with a Medicare contract. Continued enrollment in Geisinger Gold depends on annual contract renewal. Geisinger Health Plan Kids and Geisinger Health Plan Family are offered by Geisinger Health Plan in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services . Geisinger Health Plan is part of Geisinger, an integrated health care delivery and coverage organization.
What Does Antibiotic Resistance Mean For Me
Using antibiotics when you don’t need them may mean that they won’t work for you when you do need them in the future.
If you have an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection:
- you will have the infection for longer
- you may be more likely to have complications of the infection
- you could remain infectious for longer, and pass your infection to other people, which increases the problem.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Antibiotics
Like all medicines, antibiotics have the potential to cause side effects. When antibiotics are necessary, the benefits far outweigh the risks, but when they are not needed, you are taking an unnecessary risk.
Up to 10% of people taking an antibiotic may experience these common side effects:
- stomach problems like diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting
- thrush infections, which can affect the mouth and in women can also occur in the vagina .
Other less common side effects include:
- ongoing diarrhoea caused by an intestinal infection, which may be serious and require further investigation and treatment
- allergic reactions, such as hives , fever and breathing problems.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the possible side effects of your medicine. You should also ask if there are any medicines you should not take with your antibiotic.
The Consumer Medicine Information for your medicine also lists the most common side effects as well as any interactions with other medicines.
What Are Other Ways To Treat And Prevent The Flu
Antiviral prescription medicines and an annual flu vaccine are available for treating and preventing the flu.
Prescription anti-flu medicines include amantadine , rimantadine , zanamivir and oseltamivir . These drugs do not cure the flu, but they can make the symptoms milder and make you feel better more quickly. They are only effective when used in the first 48 hours of flu-like symptoms.
These drugs are not needed for healthy people who get the flu. They are usually reserved for people who are very sick with the flu or those who are at risk of complications from the flu, such as people with long-term chronic medical conditions or older age.
Flu vaccine . Although there is currently no vaccine against the common cold, there is a vaccine to prevent the flu. The vaccine is available by both shot and nasal spray. It works by exposing the immune system to the viruses. The body responds by building antibodies against the flu. The flu shot contains dead flu viruses. The nasal spray contains live, but weakened, flu viruses. The nasal spray is only approved for healthy children and adults two to 49 years old and who are not pregnant.
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When You Need Antibiotics And When To Avoid Them
Viruses and bacteria are two types of germs that can cause infection and disease. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but have no effect on viruses. Some illnesses always require antibiotic treatment: strep throat, staph-based skin infections and common sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia.
Other conditions may be caused by either bacteria or viruses, and it can be hard to tell the difference. If you develop pneumonia, pink-eye or a urinary tract infection, for instance, your doctor may test for bacteria before recommending antibiotics.
Do I Need Antibiotics For A Common Cold Or The Flu
Good-quality, reliable clinical studies have shown that antibiotics do not improve the symptoms of a cold or the flu. This is because antibiotics work only on infections caused by bacteria common colds and the flu are infections caused by viruses.
Antibiotics will not
- help a cold or the flu get better faster
- stop a cold or the flu from getting worse or
- stop a cold or the flu from spreading to other people.
If you are usually healthy and well, your immune system will take care of most respiratory tract infections both viral and some bacterial infections by itself.
However, antibiotics are more likely to be needed for people who:
- have serious infections caused by bacteria
- have an ongoing health condition
- are older or in generally poor health, or have a weakened immune system
- have a higher risk of complications with a respiratory tract infection .
Using antibiotics when you don’t need them can contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance. This might mean that if you have a serious infection, such as pneumonia, in the future, antibiotics may not work as well.
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So What Can I Do About My Cold Or Flu
You mightve heard your doctor use the phrase that a virus has to run its course. This means waiting for your bodys immune system to fight off the viral infection by itself by activating an immune response.
While a virus runs its course there are ways you can speed it up or make it less severe. Getting plenty of bed rest, drinking lots of fluids and taking over-the-counter medication to relieve symptoms will help. This is generally enough for otherwise healthy people. However, in some cases, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications to help reduce the severity and length of your illness. This is most effective at the onset of a virus.
If you have a cold or the flu, you should visit your doctor or call 13 HEALTH if you have more serious symptoms, such as trouble breathing, chest pain, a sore throat that hurts to swallow, a cough, headaches, sinus pain, persistent vomiting , fever , feelings of confusion or coloured phlegm.
There are also steps you should take to protect others. If you have a cold, flu or virus, stay at home and avoid contact with others. This means no work, no school and no day care. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or you could use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Make sure you cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or a flexed elbow. Stay 1.5 meters away from others, so you dont spread germs.