With the weather getting colder and cough & cold season underway, members of the public may be tempted to see their GP for antibiotics in place of rest, fluids and over the counter remedies. These illnesses are short lived, and most are caused by viruses; they will usually resolve without any need for prescriptions. This is why GP's are advising against the use of antibiotics for treating coughs, colds and flu.
Antibiotics are important medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Most winter conditions, such as colds and flu, are caused by viruses and therefore cannot be treated with antibiotics.
The best way to treat most colds, coughs or sore throats is to drink plenty of fluids and to rest. There are many over the counter remedies to ease the symptoms such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Your local community pharmacist can advise you on the most effective treatment for you.
If the symptoms persist and you are concerned, talk to your GP/clinician/pharmacist but you shouldn’t expect to be prescribed antibiotics.
The routine usage of antibiotics to treat viral infections, such as colds, has led to certain bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. This means that in the future, even simple infections will become life threatening.
Stop the spread of resistant bacteria and keep antibiotics working for the use of future generations by using antibiotics only when you really need them.