Fighting a Virus with Antibiotics

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Have you ever taken your child to the doctor and been told he has a cold or the flu and the doctor prescribes antibiotics? We often think the doctor knows best so we dash out of the doctor’s office to the nearest drug store and purchase the medication hoping our child will improve swiftly. There’s only one problem. Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses and doctors know this. So, why do they prescribe them?

As a former health care worker, I’ve seen countless parents bring their children in with complaints of runny noses, fever, congestion. They insist on the doctor giving them an antibiotic because this is the only defense we generally think will “make us well”. Doctors are human too. So, to appease their clients, they often write the prescription and give the kid a sucker and a super hero sticker and send them on their way. When in actuality the only thing that’s super about it is the bugs we are assisting in mutating to one day be the super-bacteria of them all- resistant to everything we have to combat them. Yes, there are bacteria around today that are resistant to almost every form of antibiotic we have. In other words, there are some bacterial infections that there’s no cure for.

Even as consumers, we purchase antibacterial soaps, lotions and other products that claim to be mega germ fighters. Why? Are the germs we encounter on a daily basis deadly enough to illicit this type of constant safeguard? Or is this another way of exposing relatively harmless bacteria to a product so many times until it is forced to mutate into something bigger, stronger and way more powerful.

Word to the wise – stop abusing antibiotics. If your child has a cold or any type of viral infection treat the symptoms. There is no cure for the common cold, flu or other viral infection Treating the symptoms includes: medications to reduce fever, decongestants, antihistamines for runny noses and Grandma’s homemade chicken soup. A virus has to pretty much run it’s course. Alleviating some of the symptoms so that the child feels better during the course of the virus is the only true remedy.

As far as the antibacterial products that are saturating our market today, the regular products work just as well unless you have some sort of bacterial skin infection or other reason to utilize topical antibacterial products.

Remember, always take antibiotics exactly as directed. Misuse can be just as bad as not using at all. These are powerful drugs that have saved countless lives. Let’s continue to keep our family’s healthy by making good choices. Here’s to your health.

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