Knowing When You Need Antibiotics

When it comes around to cold and flu season, many people assume that every illness can be treated with a round of antibiotics. In fact, they are one of the most over prescribed medications that you can get from your doctor. There’s a significant different between a bacterial infection and a viral infection as antibiotics have no impact on viral infections at all. Knowing what illness you have will help you to determine whether you should be seeking antibiotics from your doctor or look at other over the counter treatments while the ailment runs its course.


Antibiotics for Sinusitis

One of the most important things to know about being prescribed antibiotics for sinusitis is that you should wait at least 7 days after experiencing the first symptoms to start taking the medication. It is typically a condition that develops as a result of a virus, so it is important that you wait for the bacterial infection to develop before receiving treatment. If you’re dealing with sinusitis you might notice the following symptoms:

  • Pus emitting from your nasal cavities
  • Pain on one (or both) sides of your face
  • Sinus pain on one side of your face
  • Worsened symptoms after 7 days of first symptoms

Before you get the final diagnosis for bacterial sinusitis, you can rely on over the counter medications that are designed to help treat fevers, pain, and to decongest your body.

Antibiotics for Sore Throat

In some cases, patients will be required to get antibiotics for their sore throat, depending on the illness that is causing the symptom. Most of the illnesses that make your throat sore are viral and only 15% of patients have strep throat. Some of the most common symptoms to look out for if you’re wondering whether to get antibiotics for your throat or not include:

  • Fever
  • Pus on your tonsils
  • Tender lymph nodes on the front of the neck
  • Inability to cough

In most cases you will be given narrow-spectrum antibiotics after your doctor determines what strain of infection you have.

Antibiotics for Colds

One of the most common ailments that people assume need to be treated by antibiotics are colds. Unfortunately, colds are in fact a virus that cannot be treated by any type of antibiotic. You will have to rely on over the counter medications to help treat the symptoms until the virus runs its course. In the event that your cold symptoms last longer than 10 days, you should seek medical assistance.