It is that time a year again. The season of colds, sore throats, bronchitis, and many other sinus and ear infections. Although it may be tempting to run to the doctor and ask for an antibiotic, take a minute to pause. Most of these common illnesses are caused by viral, not bacterial infections. For example, antibiotics are almost never needed to treat bronchitis, a condition that occurs when there is swelling in the airways causing a cough. 95% of the time, taking an antibiotic will not cure your infection or make you feel better.
Taking antibiotics inappropriately can cause harmful side effects like vomiting and diarrhea. It also contributes to antibiotic resistance, which is when bacteria are able to resist the effects of an antibiotic. Antibiotic resistance can lead to increased difficulty of treating future bacterial infections that do require an antibiotic.
However, there are instances where an illness is caused by a bacterial infection and require antibiotics. Some examples include whooping cough, strep throat, and urinary tract infections.
What you can do:
If you are experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, but have questions and feel unsure about the severity the above symptoms, Amwell e-visits are a great alternative to traditional doctor's visits. Using Amwell's app, you can see a board-certified physician from the comfort of your own home. Plus, Amwell is available 24/7/365.
You should also try the following self-care methods:
- Drink more fluids
- Get more rest
- Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion
- Soothe your sore throat with crushed ice, sore throat spray, or lozenges
- Ask your healthcare provider about over-the-counter treatment options for symptom relief
- If diagnosed with the flu, ask about flu antiviral drugs
Amwell is not for emergencies. In addition, if you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, it is important that you follow-up with your health care professional because they may indicate something more serious:
- Chronic heart or lung problems with new symptoms of acute bronchitis
- Children younger than three months of age with a fever
- Temperature higher than 100.4
- A fever and cough with thick or bloody mucus
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Symptoms that last more than 3 weeks
- Repeated episodes of bronchitis