Have a Cold? Maybe You Need Rest, Not Antibiotics
As many as one-fifth of all prescriptions for acute illness may be unnecessary, and most people who are sick will get better on their own with adequate rest, according to Public Health England (PHE). Antibiotics used to treat coughs and colds, ear infections, and bronchitis are not particularly helpful and overuse of these medications can contribute to antibiotic resistance and make infections more difficult to treat.
Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem throughout the world. PHE reports that drug-resistant infections are expected to kill more people annually than currently die from cancer each year by 2050.
Viral infections can take weeks to resolve, but usually do not require antibiotics unless a secondary infection – pneumonia, for example – develops. For most otherwise-healthy patients, rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and plenty of fluids are enough to allow the body’s immune system to handle the infection.