Antibiotics do nothing to fight viral infections - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Antibiotics do nothing to fight viral infections

January 24, 2005
By Diana Gonzalez

When you get sick, you want something that will make you feel better. When it comes to colds and the flu, patients often demand antibiotics, but those drugs do nothing to fight viral infections.

Working in Mount Sinai Hospital's emergency room, the flu is an occupational hazard. That’s how Carlos Erskine caught it. “We have a lot of visitors a lot of tourists that are in and out and they're all suffering from the same symptoms.”

Dr. Islon Woolf, of mount Sinai Medical Center said, “I'm certainly seeing a lot of colds a lot of strep throat, pharyngitis, sinus infections, bronchitis. The latest flu map from the CDC shows several red states where there is widespread flu activity.”

So how can you tell if that's what's ailing you? It’s usually a sudden onset. It starts within an hour or two your body aches you have a headache it usually hurts to move your eyes around.

Antiviral medications like Tamiflu can help, but not antibiotics which many patients pressure doctors to prescribe. “People have to understand antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Flus and colds are viruses and antibiotics do no treat that approximately 90 to 95 per cent of infections are going to be viral, so in general most people do not need antibiotics."

But sometimes viruses can lead to bacterial infections, which do need antibiotics. See a doctor if an illness gets worse or lasts a long time do not save antibiotics for the next time you get sick and do no take antibiotics prescribes for someone else.

The CDC has a guide for parents with frequently asked questions and answers.


posted at 4:05PM by dave.miller@walb.com