You are feeling miserable. The pressure in your head makes you feel you’re your eyes are popping out of your head and your throat feels like sandpaper. What should you do? Call on your local doctor and get a prescription or call on your doctor within? What approach resolves your flu the quickest?…
If you go to see your local doctor in Australia, England or the United States chances are you will be given a prescription for antibiotics. If you happen to be in Europe the doctor will more often prescribe bed rest, fluids etc. (all the things that your Mum tells you) and tell you to return in a week if symptoms still persist.
If you do happen to return, then the doctor will perform a blood test or a swab to determine if you have a bacterial infection. Only if the results of those tests indicate a bacterial infection will they prescribe antibiotics. Grade 1 of medical school tells you that antibiotics can only be of use with bacterial infections. Otherwise they recommend that you let nature take its course.
A 2009 study published in the journal Lung found that bacterial infections would account for less than 10% of people with a cough or cold.
A 1997 analysis of 9 trials measuring the effectiveness of antibiotic use in the treatment of coughs and colds found antibiotic use no more helpful than a placebo. In addition, antibiotics were found to have twice the side effects.
So what does this mean for those afflicted with flu symptoms?
Firstly, it means that you will get over most coughs and colds without needing any medical intervention. Often we seek medical care when we have flu symptoms because we feel helpless, scared or frustrated. We feel like we need to do something in order to accelerate our recovery. These studies show that getting a prescription does not accelerate recovery at al