Which Treatments Should I Take For Flu Symptoms
come in oral or nasal spray forms. Decongestants are used to reduce swelling in the nasal passageways. However, nasal spray decongestants should not be used for more than a few days because, if they are used too long and then stopped, they can cause rebound symptoms.
If you have a runny nose, postnasal drip, or itchy, watery eyes — then an antihistamine may be helpful for your flu symptoms. Antihistamines block the effect of “histamine,” and help relieve such annoying symptoms as sneezing, itching, and nasal discharge.
Some over-the-counter antihistamines often make people drowsy, whereas decongestants can make people hyper or keep them awake. Keep in mind that both decongestants and antihistamines can interact with other drugs you may be taking, and they may aggravate some conditions. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which flu symptom treatment is best for you.
Which Flu Treatment Works Best For My Cough
An occasional cough may clear the lung of pollutants and excess phlegm. A persistent cough should be diagnosed and treated specifically. On the pharmacy shelf, you’ll find numerous cough medicines with various combinations of decongestants, antihistamines, analgesics/antipyretics, cough suppressants, and expectorants. Ask your pharmacist which combination, if any, would be appropriate for your cough.Ã Some research suggests that honey may help suppress a cough- but do not use in anyone under the age of one as it may cause a type of food poisoning called botulism in younger children.
Can Pregnant People Take Antiviral Drugs
Yes. Oral oseltamivir is recommended for treatment of pregnant people with flu because compared to other recommended antiviral medications, it has the most studies available to suggest that it is safe and beneficial during pregnancy. Baloxavir is not recommended for pregnant people or while breastfeeding, as there are no available efficacy or safety data.
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How Are Viruses Different From Bacteria
Viruses are structurally different from bacteria. Viruses live and replicate inside of a human cell and they cannot live outside of this environment. Viruses insert their genetic material into a human cells DNA in order to reproduce.
Antibiotics cannot kill viruses because bacteria and viruses have different mechanisms and machinery to survive and replicate. The antibiotic has no target to attack in a virus.
However, antiviral medications and vaccines are specific for viruses. Vaccines stimulate your own immune system to produce antibodies, which then can recognize the virus to inactivate it before it can cause disease. The best way to help prevent the flu, COVID, shingles and chickenpox is with a vaccine.
When Antibiotics Can Help
Sometimes, you get infected with a bacteria after you’ve got a cold. Some signs of bacterial sinus infection are pain around your face and eyes that may get worse when you bend over. You might also cough up thick, yellow or green mucus.
These symptoms may also occur with a cold. But if they last for more than a week or are severe, you may have a bacterial infection and need antibiotics.
Only your doctor can prescribe antibiotics. Talk to them if you think you might need them.
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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.
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
Do I Need To Finish My Antibiotic
The bottom line: take your antibiotic for as long as your doctor tells you.
Historically you may have been told to always finish all of your prescribed antibiotic, even if you feel 100% better. The thinking was that antibiotic resistance could occur if you stop short of your full course of therapy.
But some experts are now advising that long courses are not always needed and could actually be fueling the antibiotic resistance trend. The American College of Physicians published a guideline in 2021 entitled “ACP Best Practice Advice: Shorter course of antibiotics may be appropriate for some common infections”.
- Healthcare providers and patients should be aware that using antibiotics for shorter periods may have the same or better results compared with longer periods and can also help lower antibiotic resistance.
- The treatment advice from ACP centers on uncomplicated and common infections like bronchitis / COPD, pneumonia, urinary tract infection , and skin infections in otherwise healthy patients.
- Length of treatment often depends on the antibiotic being used or the bacteria being treated, too. For example, for uncomplicated UTI in women, fosfomycin is a medicine that can be given in one single dose, but trimethoprimsulfamethoxazole is given as a 3-day course.
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What Does Antibiotic Resistance Mean
According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria changes in some way to reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of the antibiotic.
When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics repeatedly, such as when you take the medication needlessly or too frequently, the germs in your body start to evolve. These changes can make the germs stronger than before so they completely resist the antibiotic. Your illness may linger with no signs of improvement. Or your illness may suddenly take a turn for the worse, requiring you to seek emergency medical care. You may have to be admitted to the hospital and get several different antibiotics intravenously. Sadly, those around you may get the resistant bacteria and come down with a similar illness that is very difficult to treat.
Which Flu Treatment Should I Take To Lower My Fever And Body Aches
Children under 19 should avoid aspirin. Acetaminophen or medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen are over-the-counter options for fever and pain relief. Each medication has risks. Check with your doctor or pharmacist as to which medication may be suitable for you.
Be careful not to overdose! These drugs are often mixed in with other multi-symptom cold and flu remedies you may also be taking. They may also be ingredients in other prescription medicines you may be taking. Your pharmacist can help you check for drug ingredients and interactions.
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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.
Other Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
There are a few other reasons you might be prescribed antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection. Strep throat, medically known as streptococcal pharyngitis, is a sore throat caused by infection by streptococcal bacteria. It is usually treated with penicillin.
Swelling of the epiglottis, the flap of tissue covering the windpipe, is potentially life-threatening, particularly in children ages 2 to 5 years. Called epiglottitis, this condition can impact breathing and is often caused by infection with the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type b and should be treated with antibiotics, including a cephalosporin.
If the cold leads to an ear infection, antibiotics may help resolve it if pain relievers and decongestants dont do the trick. Antibiotic use guidelines for children with ear infections differ based on their age and symptoms.
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Is My Infection Bacterial Or Viral
This distinction can be tricky, which is why it’s worth a visit to your healthcare provider to be evaluated. People with underlying lung problems or other chronic illnesses may be more prone to bacterial infections and should seek a professional opinion sooner rather than later.
Generally speaking, however, there are some ways bacterial and viral infections can be differentiated.
Most produce a wide variety of symptoms, such as a sore throat, sniffles, cough, and body aches
Usually abate after a week
Often cause a more focused area of discomfort, such as a severely painful ear or an extremely sore throat
Symptoms usually last for longer than 10 to 14 days
Viral illness that last more than 10 days or that grow suddenly worse after five to seven days may be signs that you have developed a secondary bacterial infection. While you did not require antibiotics for the initial viral infection, you will need them now.
Some of the signs used to be thought of as being suggestive of the presence of a bacterial infection, but this is no longer believed to be accurate.
Antibiotics Can Cure A Cold Or The Flu
Nope, not true. It is a very common misconception that antibiotics can be used to cure the common cold or flu.
In a study published by the Oxford Journal of Clinical Infections Diseases, a majority of patients were willing to take antibiotics for conditions likely to have a viral origin, such as flu, sore throat, cough or earache.
However, antibiotics kill bacteria and specifically treat bacterial infections. Common colds and the flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Antibiotics do not help fight viruses. Additionally, taking antibiotics for a viral infection may do more harm than good: using antibiotics when they are not needed and cannot treat the illness increases the risk of a resistant infection later.Antibiotics may be used to treat bacterial infections that may result from a viral infection, but not the viral infection itself.
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Why Antibiotics Dont Help The Flu
Antibiotics wont help because sinus issues, coughs, colds, flu and upper respiratory congestion are usually not caused by bacteria. These conditions are caused mostly by fungi and/or viruses. Antibiotics are counterproductive at best. At worst, they increase your risk for antibiotic resistant bacteria, asthma and a host of other problems, including breast cancer .
Soooo, what do you do for the cold/flu season? First, understand that your symptoms are not due to the critters. Your symptoms from the swine flu, H1N1, Ebola or any other viruses are not from the virus but your immune systems response to the virus. Your immune system produces chemicals that produce: fever, chills, aches, diarrhea, cough, runny nose, sore throat, swollen glands, malaise , congestion and all the other cold/flu symptoms. Antibiotics and most OTC remedies make no sense to anyone who understands immunology. Two things make sense. One is to use a product that kills fungus and viruses. The OMG products do that. Garlic, turmeric and other BALi herbs/spices do that. Essential oils do that. Iodine does that.
Vitamin D is critical. D3 is actually a hormone that allows natural production of critter killers called cathelicidins. If your levels of cathelicidins are low, critters will overgrow.
Read more from GreenMedInfo.com on how antibiotics will not help your sinuses.
Who Should Get An Annual Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following groups receive an annual flu vaccine shot between November and February :
- All people aged six months and older.
It is especially important for certain individuals at high risk of flu complications and those who come in contact with people at high risk of complications to receive the flu vaccine. These people at high risk include:
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- People who have chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, kidney and liver disorders and chronic lung diseases.
- People with a weakened immune system, for example, people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or chronic steroid users.
- Household members and caregivers of patients at risk of complications from the flu.
- Women who are or will be pregnant during the flu season .
- Healthcare workers who come into close contact with patients in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare facilities.
- Infants and children ages six months through 18 years who are taking long-term aspirin therapy. This puts these individuals at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after flu infection.
- American Indians/Alaska natives.
- People who have close contact with children under five years of age for example, people who live with children, nannies and providers of daycare services.
- People who are morbidly obese .
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Ask Your Doctor About Antiviral Drugs
Antiviral drugs are only available by prescription, so you must see a doctor first. These medications are typically reserved for people who are at high risk of developing complications from the flu.
These drugs prevent the virus from growing and replicating. They work best if you take them within 48 hours of having symptoms.
You may want to ask a doctor for a prescription antiviral if you:
- are under age 5
- are 18 or under and taking aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications
- are at least 65
- are pregnant or have given birth in the last two weeks
- have a chronic medical condition or youre taking other medications that weaken your immune system
- live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- are Native American
- are extremely obese, with a body mass index of at least 40
The antiviral medication most commonly prescribed is oseltamivir . In October 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved baloxavir marboxil , a new antiviral for people ages 12 and older.
Taking antiviral medications within two days of the onset of symptoms may reduce both the duration of the flu by about one day and the severity of symptoms.
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
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When Children Need Themand When They Dont
If your child has a sore throat, cough, or runny nose, you might expect the doctor to prescribe antibiotics. But most of the time, children dont need antibiotics to treat a respiratory illness. In fact, antibiotics can do more harm than good. Heres why:
Antibiotics fight bacteria, not viruses.
If your child has a bacterial infection, antibiotics may help. But if your child has a virus, antibiotics will not help your child feel better or keep others from getting sick.
- The common cold and flu are both viruses.
- Chest colds are also usually caused by viruses.
- Bronchiolitis is particular type of chest cold that often causes wheezing and can make young infants very sick. It is also caused by a virus.
- Most sinus infections are caused by viruses. The symptoms are a lot of mucus in the nose and post-nasal drip.
- Mucus that is colored does not necessarily mean your child has a bacterial infection.
Antibiotics do not help treat viruses and some infections.
The flu is always caused by a virus. For these cases, antibiotics may be needed. There are special medications that can be used in some cases to fight the flu virus. Sometimes infants and children get bacterial infections on top of the flu. When a child has BOTH the flu and a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be needed.
Sometimes bacteria can cause sinus infections, but even then the infection usually clears up on its own in a week or so. Many common ear infections also clear up on their own without antibiotics.
Viral Infections And Antibiotics
Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, but influzena 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 Dr. Tyler Policht, 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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