Wednesday 1 February 2023

Are Antibiotics needed in common cold ? Myth vs Facts

    When winter had come can spring be far behind ? Well we all are gearing up to welcome spring which symbolises colour and festivity. Spring also happens to be the time when there is surge of numerous viral infections. This sudden spike is mostly due to gradual increase in environmental temperature and humidity which fundamentally favours the growth of different environmental pathogens. 
    Common Cold is most commonly due to seasonal strains of Influenza, Rhino, Adeno , Respiratory Synctial Virus which cause nasal discharge, sneezing, mild prodromal fever with bodyache etc. This is self limiting in most of the cases within 7 days of onset of symptoms. Paracetamol, Antihistaminics like Montelukast, levocetrizine, Bilastine etc do most of the job. However, in certain individuals like patients having comorbid conditions like Diabetes, Hypertension, Pre-existing interstial lung diseases may require antibiotics like Amoxycillin, Cepodoxime Proxetil , Azithromycin as a precautionary measure to prevent secondary bacterial infection. 

     Western literature and AMR surveillance programmes often advise against use of antibiotics in viral infections, however this concept cannot be generalised and clinician has to take in consideration of invidual patient aspects, local epidemiological pattern and investigation parameters. However, antibiotics if used in seasonal viral infections should be restricted to first line ones to combat antibiotic resistance. Also OTC availability of antibiotics should be stopped to prevent its irrational uses. 

    Stay tuned for updates on more medical vignettes. 
Graphics acknowledgement : CDC

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