|MYTH VS. TRUTH|
Antibiotics Kill Viruses
Antibiotics kill viruses.
NOT! Just the other day I was talking to a friend who had a diagnosis of a virus and was prescribed an antibiotic. I asked why he was taking an antibiotic for a virus and he said, "Because my doctor gave it to me and he didn't want it to turn into a bacterial infection." I said, "What the hell kind of thinking is that? Since when did a virus morph into a bacteria?" Now his doctor knows better than this because its basic information. Antibiotics 'only' work against infections caused by bacteria, fungus and by certain parasites. Antibiotics do not work against 'any' infections that are caused by viruses.
Viruses cause bronchitis, colds, most coughs, the flu, runny noses and sore throats. Period! Antibiotics taken for these things will 'not' cure the illness, they won't make you feel better or keep anyone from getting the illness from you. In fact, taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good because taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment. Then you're up a creek without a paddle. Bummer!
Now about bacteria and antibiotics . . .
Antibiotics kill bacteria and/or will stop them from growing but there is a glitch here. Some bacteria have become resistant to specific antibiotics. Those bacteria are nasty little things, which means that the antibiotics no longer work against them. This is because antibiotics were used when they weren't necessary or used too often creating a resistance to bacteria. There was also a time when it was popular for a doctor to give a worried mother an antibiotic for their childs cold or flu symptoms just to calm her down. If he didn't give the prescription then she would likely get it from another doctor. Now that would be bad for business. Folks, this is absolutely the truth that many of my older physician friends will readily admit to doing 'back in the day' who actually contributed to the problem of resistant bacteria by passing out antibiotics so readily.
Bacteria also becomes resistant to antibiotics when the full prescription of antibiotics are not taken as prescribed. Resistant bacteria may be treated with other antibiotics that the bacteria have not yet become resistant to. The really bad news is that these type of antibiotics have to be given through an IV (intravenously, through a vein) at the hospital. And then there are some types of resistant bacteria that are just downright untreatable.
So what should you do for a virus?
What if you have bronchitis, a cold, cough, the flu, a runny nose or a sore throat? Well, you let the illness run its course which could take up to two weeks. You can take herbs, homeopathy, vitamin supplements or over-the-counter medications that will relieve some symptoms and make you more comfortable until the virus runs its course. Naturally if you have Strep Throat, that requires a prescription because IT IS a bacterial infection and not a virus. The real name for Strep Throat is named for the bacteria, which is caused by tiny egg-shaped bacteria called Group A streptococci.
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