Some of the most common illnesses that send us to the doctor’s office can be easily treated with medications; however, there
isn’t an easy, one-stop solution for every sniffle, cough or infection.
While antibiotics are one of the most frequently prescribed medications for a variety of conditions, they are not a cure-all for everything. In fact, for many common illnesses caused by viruses (flu, colds and sore throats), antibiotics are not recommended.
So when do you know if an antibiotic will help relieve symptoms?
Dirk Killelea, Manager of the NorthShore Evanston Hospital Pharmacy, offers his insight on antibiotics, including when you should take them and when you shouldn’t:
How frequently do you take antibiotics?
At one time or another—and maybe even multiple times each year—we’ve all had the symptoms of a cold. The familiar prolonged running
nose and sniffling, and the sinus pressure that comes along with it. How do you know if it’s just a common cold or a sinus infection?
Ilana Seligman, MD, Pediatric Otolaryngologist at NorthShore breaks down the differences between a cold and a sinus infection. She also recommends when you should see your
doctor if symptoms persist:
There is no real way to prevent getting a cold. Instead, it’s recommended to wash your hands frequently, and not to share cups and toothbrushes. If you do have a cold, there isn’t much a doctor can do, since prescribing antibiotics is not recommended. Most
colds typically last 7-10 days, and common symptoms include:
A sinus infection is an infection or inflammation of the lining of the sinus cavities. Very few colds—only 5-10%—will turn into sinus infections. Common signs your cold is a sinus infection include:
If you experience these symptoms it may be a sinus infection, and time to consult your physician. Common treatment often includes prescribing antibiotics.
Do you know when you have a cold versus a sinus infection? What home remedies to you defer to when you have a cold?