– Ed

Diseases, among other things, are caused by viruses and bacteria. Every year, thousands upon thousands of people get flu, which we know, is caused by a virus. So often, we hear flu victims say: “I really battled with this flu, so I finally went to the doctor to get an anti-biotic to sort it out.” Nothing can be further from the truth! Anti-biotics are designed to kill bacteria. It can never fight a virus. Anti-biotics will not cure influenza or speed up the recovery from it. That is a well-established fact. The same holds true for colds.

Viruses are on their own mission. Some strains will hang around for seven days, whilst others may run their course over fourteen days. Mostly, when a virus takes hold of you, it takes control and there is not much one can do to get rid of it quickly. Depending on the strain, it will basically run its course and usually, during an outbreak of flu, it will take a similar time period for different victims to get over it. The best course of action when you are struck down, is to drink lots of fluids and rest.
Sure, there are medications that can give some relief by masking the symptoms to some extent, but never enough to get you into shipshape condition. Sadly, when people get frustrated, because they are not turning the corner to recovery soon enough, they resort to anti-biotics with the false hope that it will heal them from the flu.

Taking antibiotics when not needed, is not a good idea because bacteria may become resistant to it. When you do get a bacterial infection, the antibiotic may not be effective. There may also be side effects from antibiotics such as a rash, upset stomach or diarrhoea.

Unlike bacteria, which attack your body’s cells from the outside, viruses actually move into, live in and make copies of themselves in your body’s cells. Viruses can’t reproduce on their own, like bacteria do, instead they attach themselves to healthy cells and reprogram those cells to make new viruses. It is because of all of these differences that antibiotics don’t work on viruses.

It is possible to get a secondary bacterial infection with influenza. The common ones are: bacterial pneumonia, bacterial sinusitis or bacterial otitis. Your doctor will be able to make the diagnosis. We have all had the flu and know the symptoms. First plan of action should be to sit it out. If you do end up with the doctor and she suggests an antibiotic prescription, ask whether she believes that you have a secondary bacterial infection.

Share this on Facebook: