Tag Archives: antibiotics

Cold Care – Tips and Tidbits (Part 2)

Cold And Flu

There are over 100 different viruses that can cause the common cold. The two most prominent are the coronavirus and rhinovirus. While there is no “cure” for the common cold, there are things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and help ease you into recovery.

What To Do When Prevention Fails?

You tried every preventative measure you could think of but still caught that cold, so what now? Well, there are many traditional remedies that may help ease your symptoms, as well as certain over the counter (OTC) medications. Natural remedies also exist that may help your illness pass quickly and quietly. Some of the most widely accepted cold-fighting measures to take include getting plenty of rest, hydrating more than normal to flush out the germs more quickly, and avoiding secondhand smoke or other irritants that may bother your upper respiratory tract even more.

Avoid Unnecessary Meds

Many cold-marketed cough syrups and other medications claim to ‘cure’ but don’t actually work for colds, and can be counterproductive to your recovery. Common cough syrups contain a cough suppressing agent called dextromethorphan (DM) which can actually stall your recovery and can be especially dangerous to asthmatics and children. There is a reason we cough when we are sick; coughing and sneezing are your body’s ways of purging unwanted germs. You want to get that gunk out of your lungs as soon as you can, so let your annoying coughs resound!

Natural Remedies That Help

While many natural remedies have been debunked or remain unproven, there are those that help. Some of the more beneficial ones include:

  • Salt water – The healing power of salt water is pretty widely accepted, and saline nasal sprays can act as decongestants while salt water gargles can help heal sore throats.
  • Ginger and peppermint – Ginger has shown some promise helping with certain bad stomach issues, while peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with sinuses (in steam) or the digestive tract.
  • Sipping warm liquids – The warmth can break up mucus and get it flowing to help clear you out.
  • Vaporizers and humidifiers – Adding moisture to the air can also help decongest some people.

Meds That Do Work

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil or ibuprofen (not aspirin) can help alleviate any inflammation or aches and pains associated with your cold and help bring down mild fevers. Decongestants have also proven successful for some cold sufferers, as they help decrease inflammation in the nasal passages and airways while helping to soothe stuffiness.

Don’t Run For The Antibiotics!

Many people go to the doctor with the first onset of a cold symptom expecting antibiotics. In actuality, the vast majority of colds are viral, not bacterial, so antibiotics won’t help one bit. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily or too frequently contributes to antibiotic resistance which could work against you when you really need them in the future. Antibiotics also disrupt the gut’s bacterial ecosystem, killing off good bacteria along with the bad. Lastly, antibiotics are medications which, like any, have potential side effects. Too many antibiotics can be especially troublesome for causing diarrhea in children.

When To Visit The Doc

Most colds resolve themselves within 7-10 days, but that is not to say no one should go to the doctor for a cold. If your baby or young child has a cold, definitely take them to a doctor as soon as possible. If you are immunocompromised (hindered by a chronic condition such as AIDS or a respiratory disease) you should also touch base with your doctor as you may need medications (such as corticosteroids) to help your body fight the bug. Lastly, if your cold is hanging on too long and not improving, or you have a high, persistent fever, it is time to visit your doctor, or download the DocChat app to have a video consultation with one of our top-notch physicians today!