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.
Inflammation Rises As Gut Bacteria Go Down
The researchers measured immune response to the flu shot and diversity and abundance of gut microbes by analyzing stool and blood serum samples taken at various points during a one-year follow-up period.
They found that people taking the antibiotics experienced a 10,000-fold drop in their gut bacteria population a loss that lasted up to a year after they took the drugs. These participants also displayed signs of systemic inflammation that mirrored a pro-inflammatory state seen among people age 65 and older who have gotten the flu shot.
Scientists speculate that the inflammation may be connected to how the microbiome regulates bile acid.
Viral Infections And Antibiotics
Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, but influenza is caused by a virus, so antibiotics arent effective treatment for the flu. In fact, antibiotics may do more harm than good if you have the flu, says Tyler Policht, MD, a family medicine doctor at Geisinger. They wont help you feel better, and they can cause other health problems.
Thats because viruses infect your body in a different way. Viruses infect your cells and multiply inside of them. For the virus, your cells act as a sort of Trojan horse so they can reproduce. Because they hide in your cells, antibiotics cant affect viruses in the same way.
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How To Take Antibiotics
Take antibiotics as directed on the packet or the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine, or as instructed by your GP or pharmacist.
Antibiotics can come as:
- tablets, capsules or a liquid that you drink these can be used to treat most types of mild to moderate infections in the body
- creams, lotions, sprays and drops these are often used to treat skin infections and eye or ear infections
- injections these can be given as an injection or through a drip directly into the blood or muscle, and are used for more serious infections
Why Antibiotics Don’t Work For All Illnesses
Bacteria are microscopic organisms found throughout nature. They can live inside or outside the human body somesuch as the bacteria in your digestive system are beneficial and necessary for good health. Others, however, are pathogenic, meaning they cause infection and illness.
Certain bacteria are responsible for a variety of human respiratory infections, including some sinus and ear infections, certain kinds of pneumonia, and strep throat. These can be targeted and effectively neutralized by antibiotic drugs.
The common cold, influenza, and other viruses, on the other hand, are not caused by bacteria. When you get a viral infection, the virus invade your body’s cells, using their machinery to help make more and more viruses.
Antibiotics do not kill viruses, so they won’t shorten a viral illness. Instead, there are some antiviral medications that can be used against specific viruses, such as influenza or HIV.
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Antiviral Drugs
Side effects vary for each medication. The most common side effects for oseltamivir are nausea and vomiting. Zanamivir can cause bronchospasm, and peramivir can cause diarrhea. Other less common side effects also have been reported. Your health care provider can give you more information about these drugs or you can check the Food and Drug Administration website for specific information about antiviral drugs, including the manufacturers package insert.
Parents, if your child gets sick with flu, antiviral drugs offer a safe and effective treatment option. For treatment, influenza antiviral drugs should ideally be started within 2 days after becoming sick and taken according to your doctors instructions .
What About Influenza Complications
In some cases of the flu, severe illness and complications can develop. This can result in hospitalisation and even death.
The flu can also make some existing medical conditions worse.
In Victoria, flu vaccination is free for people with a higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu:
- children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 6 months and over
- pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
- people 65 years and over
- people aged 6 months and older with medical conditions putting them at higher risk of severe flu and its complications:
- cardiac disease
- children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.
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Using Antibiotics Responsibly: Our Commitment
At Atrium Health, we spread antibiotic education to our doctors through our Antimicrobial Support Network and patient care collaborative, which both work with doctors to make sure patients are prescribed the most appropriate antibiotics. The ultimate goal is to improve your care and safety.
About Atrium Health
Why Dont Antibiotics Work On Viruses
Viruses are different to bacteria they have a different structure and a different way of surviving. Viruses dont have cell walls that can be attacked by antibiotics instead they are surrounded by a protective protein coat.
Unlike bacteria, which attack your bodys cells from the outside, viruses actually move into, live in and make copies of themselves in your bodys cells. Viruses can’t reproduce on their own, like bacteria do, instead they attach themselves to healthy cells and reprogram those cells to make new viruses. It is because of all of these differences that antibiotics dont work on viruses.
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How Can I Help My Child
If your child gets the flu:
- Offer plenty of liquids. Fever and appetite loss are common with the flu, and can lead to dehydration.
- Encourage your child to rest in bed or on the couch with a supply of magazines, books, quiet music, and perhaps a favorite movie.
- Dress your child in layers that are easy to add and remove during bouts of chills or fever.
- Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and aches.
- You can give over-the-counter cough or cold medicines to children over 6 years old if your doctor says it’s OK. Follow the package instructions carefully so you give the right amount. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 years old because they can cause bad reactions.
- Running a cool-mist humidifier can help relieve coughs and runny or stuffy noses. Clean it after each use or at least once a day.
- Honey can help loosen a stubborn cough in children older than 12 months of age. Give 12 teaspoons of honey at night. Do not give honey to children under 12 months old.
- For a stuffy nose:
- For babies: Put a few drops of saline into the nose, then gently suction the mucus out with a bulb syringe. Do this no more than 23 times a day so that the inside of your baby’s nose does not get swollen or sore.
- For older kids: Give 2 sprays of saline nose spray 3 times a day.
If your doctor prescribes medicine to ease symptoms, call the pharmacist before you go to pick it up. In a severe flu season, some pharmacies might have trouble keeping the medicines in stock.
Why Can’t I Take An Antibiotic Just In Case
Aside from the fact that an antibiotic won’t work unless your illness is bacterial in nature, there are significant problems with the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
For one, it upsets your body’s balance of beneficial bacteria, which may lead to antibiotic-associated diarrhea and the development of an allergic reaction to the drug.
It also leads births antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. When bacteria are exposed to an antibiotic, many are killed, but some that are resistant to the drug’s effects usually remain. In other words, the antibiotic kills off the weakest bacteria while the stronger resistant bacteria continue multiplying. With this, the bacteria develop the ability to beat the drugs designed to kill them off.
The eventual result can be superbugsbacteria that become resistant to several types of antibiotics. These are very hard to kill and may only succumb to extremely powerful versions of these drugs. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 2.8 million people are infected by these superbugs every year in the U.S., with at least 35,000 people dying from them.
The powerful antibiotics needed for killing superbugs are much more costly and pose a greater risk of significant adverse effects that may require hospitalization. Some superbugs go on to cause devastating and even fatal infections that are incurable with current antibiotics.
Examples of antibiotic-resistant superbugs include:
- Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter
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Flu Shot And Antiviral Drugs
Newspapers and TV stations around the U.S. have reported that some consumers are having difficulty finding the flu vaccine and prescription antiviral medications such as oseltamivir and zanamivir . These drugs can reduce flu symptoms somewhat and may shorten the course of the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , there have been spot shortages of the vaccine and the antivirals, particularly of generic oseltamivir in capsule and powder form .
If you havent had the vaccine yet and your doctor’s office doesn’t have it, check the CDCs Flu Vaccine Finder or the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to see where its available in your area. Confirm by phone before you go and be aware, says the CDC, that you may not have a choice about which flu shot you get.
If you have just come down with the flu and your doctor thinks you’re a candidate for an antiviralmost otherwise healthy people generally are notit may take a bit of detective work to find it, says Michael Hochman, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Gehr Center for Health Systems Science at the Keck School of Medicine at USC in Los Angeles.
If cost is a concern, know that many health insurers are currently covering Tamiflu as a generic or at the lowest cost “tier” for brand-name drugs. You can also check websites such as GoodRx, where you can download a coupon that will let you purchase oseltamivir at Walmart for just under $52.
Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
You or your child have symptoms of flu and:
- you’re worried about your baby’s or child’s symptoms
- you’re 65 or over
- you’re pregnant
- you have a long-term medical condition for example, diabetes or a condition that affects your heart, lungs, kidneys, brain or nerves
- you have a weakened immune system for example, because of chemotherapy or HIV
- your symptoms do not improve after 7 days
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Can You Get A Flu Shot While On Antibiotics
Getting your flu shot is one of the quickest and easiest ways to protect your health- and also the health of those you love. However, many patients wonder if they can get the flu shot at any time. For instance, can you get a flu shot while on antibiotics? The answer can be confusing. Well break it down in the article below.
What Are The Benefits Of Antiviral Drugs
Antiviral treatment works best when started soon after flu illness begins. When treatment is started within two days of becoming sick with flu symptoms, antiviral drugs can lessen fever and flu symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by about one day. They also may reduce the risk of complications such as ear infections in children, respiratory complications requiring antibiotics, and hospitalization in adults. For people at higher risk of serious flu complications, early treatment with an antiviral drug can mean having milder illness instead of more severe illness that might require a hospital stay. For adults hospitalized with flu illness, some studies have reported that early antiviral treatment can reduce their risk of death.
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Why Are They Not Helpful
If you have a sore throat, cough, or sinus pain, you might expect to take antibiotics. After all, you feel bad, and you want to get better fast. But antibiotics dont help most respiratory infections, and they can even be harmful.
Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.Antibiotics fight infections caused by bacteria. But most respiratory infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics cant cure a virus.
- Most sore throats, especially with a cough, runny nose, hoarse voice, or mouth sores
What Are The Risks
Antibiotics can upset the bodys natural balance of good and bad bacteria.
Antibiotics can cause:
- Nausea, vomiting, and severe diarrhea.
- Vaginal infections.
Many adults go to emergency rooms because of antibiotic side effects.
Overuse of antibiotics is a serious problem.
Wide use of antibiotics breeds superbugs. These are bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics. They can cause drug-resistant infections, even disability or death. The resistant bacteriathe superbugscan also spread to family members and others.
You may need an antibiotic if you have specific symptoms. For example, if you have a respiratory infection. Some examples are:
- A sinus infection that doesnt get better in 7 days. Or it gets better and then suddenly gets worse.
- Symptoms include sudden throat pain, pain when swallowing, a fever of at least 38 °C, and swollen glands.
- The diagnosis can be done with a rapid strep test, which uses a swab of the throat.
If your health care provider does prescribe antibiotics, follow the directions carefully and take all your pills. This helps prevent the growth of superbugs.
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Heres When To Seek Medical Care
If you come down with flu-like symptoms it is important to visit a PhysicianOne Urgent Care center within the first day or two so that you can receive antiviral medication if it is indeed the flu. We can provide a rapid flu test to confirm if what youre suffering from is the flu. The test has a 50% 80% accuracy rate, however, so we will also use our clinical judgement to determine your diagnosis. We will then provide the best course of treatment based on your symptoms and the results of your exam.It is important to note a person with flu-like symptoms who is under age 2 or over 65 or who has an underlying medical condition should always get medical care as soon as possible. These people are more likely to develop complications from their illness, whether its influenza or not, so proper medical evaluation and supervision is important.
Be Proactive Get A Vaccination
If youve had a flu, you know they arent fun. You can help protect yourself from the flu by getting a flu vaccine. The flu vaccine changes every year, so it is important to get a new one before winter each year. The flu vaccine is free for a number of groups, including children aged 6 months to under five years, pregnant women, people 65 and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and those with medical reasons that increase their risk.
08 March 2021
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Antiviral Medication Can Sometimes Treat The Flu But Not A Flu
There are antiviral medications that can lessen the severity and duration of symptoms caused by the influenza virus. However theyre usually only beneficial if taken within the first 48 hours of experiencing symptoms. There are no such medications for the viruses that cause flu-like illnesses. If you have a virus that is not influenza or if you have the influenza virus but have already been sick for several days then treatment is aimed at easing symptoms.
Can Colds And The Flu Be Cured With Medications
No medicines can “cure” colds and flu. However, there are many over-the-counter medicines that can ease the discomfort caused by the symptoms of colds and flu. In addition, there are prescription medicines and a vaccine that can treat and prevent the flu.
Note on antibiotics: Colds and the flu are causes by viruses and cannot be cured with antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as strep throat and ear, skin and urinary tract infections. Using antibiotics for infections they are not able to treat makes the antibiotics less effective for infections they are supposed to treat . Never take antibiotics to treat colds and flu.
To ease the discomfort from specific cold and flu symptoms, consider using the following types of OTC medicines:
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