Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Say NO to antibiotics.... for common cold/cough/flu

I am no medical expert, but this is one thing that I always believed in: The common cold/cough/flu will be gone within a week even without medication. So, I thought of getting facts to prove my little theory.

This is what I have gathered from reading materials and since I am no doctor, I would NOT be able to answer your questions or any arguments, so please just read it quietly.

Common Cold
          The common cold is a viral infectious disease, which usually resolves within 7 to 10 days. When the virus first infects the nose, the nose makes clear mucus to help wash germs from the nose. After 2 or 3 days, the bodies immune system helps to fight the virus, changing the mucus to a yellow or green colour. This is normal and does not mean you or your child needs antibiotics. Many people fail to realise that their antibody can do a very good job at taking care of the flu. Some people resort to antibiotics instead.

         An antibiotic is a substance or compound that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria. Again, Bacteria and not VIRUS. Antibiotic dont work on common cold as it is caused by virus. In fact, they may do more harm than good if taken to cure common cold. Antibiotics are needed to treat infections caused by bacteria. For example, bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat and bacterial ear infection or pink eye.

Antibiotic Resistance 
        Antibiotic resistance is when a microorganism is able to survive exposure to antibiotic. When bacteria are repeatedly exposed to antibiotics, for example when taken to treat common cold, the germs in your body changes and this may allow them to completely repel the antibiotic. Antibiotic kills or inhibit growth of bacteria. Sometimes, one of the bacteria survives because it has the ability to neutralize or escape the effect of the antibiotic; that one bacterium can then multiply and replace all the bacteria that were killed off. Exposure to antibiotics therefore provides selective pressure, which makes the surviving bacteria more likely to be resistant. When this happens, your sickness will prolong and you may not seem to get any better. Then you will need stronger medication. Sadly, due to antibiotic resistance, antibiotic such as penicilin and erythromycin have become less effective. 

In some countries, even the sale of over the counter medicines for cough and cold are banned as it is not supposed to be used for children under the age of 6. 

Alternative Treatments
Alternative treatments are safe for most people. However it may cause allergic reactions or side effects to some people. Here are some example's of alternative treatments:

  • Chicken Soup - The heat, fluid and salt is beleived to be able to treat flu.
  • Vitamin C - This is more of a prevention than cure. If you have been taking vitamin c, it is believed that you will have a slightly shorter cold.
  • Oregano - This is a herb that is usually used to treat colds especially for children. It is believed to help children to take out phlegm. 

 Finally, just remember this - There are currently NO MEDICATION to shorten the duration of common cold.It gets better within 10 days. Only if it prolongs further, then doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Viral infections that should not be treated with antibiotics include:
·             Colds
·             Flu
·             Most coughs and bronchitis
·             Sore throats (except for those resulting from strep throat)
·             Some ear infections

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