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3 Things to Know Before Taking Antibiotics for Colds

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When your nose starts running and a cough begins to develop, you may want to find instant relief by going to the doctor for an antibiotic. While most people think antibiotics are the perfect cure for colds, allergies, and flus, they are not the best option in some cases. It really depends on the nature of your illness, and it might be better for you to try to feel better with other options. Here are three things you should understand about taking antibiotics.

Antibiotics Are Great for the Right Reasons

Antibiotics are the perfect solution for a variety of reasons, but they are only good when they are used to treat some type of bacterial infection. When you have a cold or flu, there is a chance it may be the result of a bacterial infection, but most likely it is not.

Most colds and flus are caused by viral infections. A viral infection is not something an antibiotic can cure. Viruses may cause you to feel lousy; however, they have to work their course. This means that it might take several days or weeks for you to get over the cold you have, but this is what is required of viral infections.

One key difference between a bacterial infection and a viral infection is a fever. If you have a fever, it is typically your body's way of fighting a bacterial infection. If you do not have a fever, the issues are likely caused by a virus. While a fever is not the only factor a doctor will use, it is a key element in distinguishing the difference.

If you visit a medical center for an illness like this and the doctor does not offer an antibiotic, it is probably because he or she believes the illness is caused by a virus.

Overuse of Antibiotics Makes You Immune

Doctors are often hesitant to give antibiotics unless they are certain they are needed and will be useful, and one of the main reasons for this is you can become immune to antibiotics. This can happen for several reasons, and it can be a big problem if you really need an antibiotic to cure a serious illness you have.

The first reason you can become immune to an antibiotic is if you do not take it properly. If you receive an antibiotic, you must take the entire thing, even if you feel better after a couple days. If you only take a partial antibiotic treatment, your body may build an immunity against it. If this happens, this particular antibiotic will no longer be useful in killing bacteria in your body.

If you take them when you really do not need them, eventually your body may build up a strong immunity against them.

Antibiotics May Kill Too Much Bacteria

There are many types of antibiotics, and each is designed to target a certain type of bacteria. If you take the wrong type of antibiotic, it can target and destroy the wrong bacteria, and in many cases this means it will destroy the good bacteria in your body.

If this happens too often, it can actually lead to gastrointestinal issues. Your body needs certain bacteria to survive and function properly. Without it, your body can develop issues. This is another reason doctors are cautious when it comes to giving antibiotic prescriptions to patients that have colds or flu-like symptoms.

If you have a cold, you can go to the doctor to find out what to do, but you should be cautious about taking antibiotics. To learn more, visit a medical center like Summit View Clinic.