pills-1190217_1920FACT: Antibiotics do not cure viral infections

The consensus among studies, doctors and the medical community is that 30% of all antibiotics (ABX) are given unnecessarily. Unwarranted ABXs are most commonly given for ear infections (otitis media), sinusitis, sore throats (pharyngitis), upper respiratory infections (URI) and bronchitis.

Sinusitis is a viral infection 90-98% of the time. It usually starts after 5-6 days of a running nose. So, wait 10 days before ABX, and then seek them only if it’s still as bad. However, if with symptoms of sinusitis you have facial pain, pus-like discharge, headache and a fever over 102°F (39°C), THEN ABX (commonly Am/Cl) will be needed.

Bronchitis (with no fever present) is also viral, and proper care is to treat the symptoms, for example, with decongestants. However, if your heart rate goes over 100 and your respiratory rate over 24, along with fever >100.4°F (38°C), you need to see a doctor for a thorough lung exam and probable chest X-ray. A good medical caregiver will listen with a stethoscope for abnormal sounds, including wheezing, and will also look at what you are coughing up – is it yellow or green? Smokers are especially susceptible to bronchitis that requires ABX.

Pharyngitis, commonly termed sore throat, along with a hoarse cough and nasal congestion, is most commonly caused by a virus. Only about 5-15% of adults get strep throat. It is most common in ages 5-15. Strep screening, a rapid antigen detection test (RADT), is not 100% accurate, but takes minutes; a 2- or 3-day throat culture is much more accurate.

PLEASE do not insist on ABX if your medical caregiver does not think you need them!