Ever wonder do you really need antibiotics for colds and flu? The answer is NO because antibiotics actually does not help in your cold and flu at all. The misuse or overuse of the antibiotics can cause the bacteria in your body to be resistant to certain antibiotics. Whenever you are infected with the resistant bacteria, the same antibiotics can no longer kill them, limiting yourself to few treatment options only in the future.
Antibiotics are only useful in bacterial infections and not in viral infections. The misuse of antibiotics can actually cause some bacteria to evolve and become resistant to the antibiotics. In order to treat the resistant strain of bacteria, we would need to switch our choice of antibiotics. However, the higher the number of antibiotic resistant discovered, the more limited the choices of antibiotics to be used for infection control, and the remaining available choices may be highly toxic.
According to our Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, the death rate due to stubborn bacterial infection in patients treated in hospitals was double that of patients with common bacterial infection. In addition, it is estimated 700,000 deaths globally each year are linked to antibiotic resistance issues and, if uncontrolled, is expected to increase to 10 million by 2050.
So how do we know if we really need antibiotics? Here is a list of the common respiratory infections and the common causative agents – either bacteria or virus. However, whenever you are unsure of your symptoms, do consult your healthcare specialist and never take antibiotics on your own!
Antibiotics is for bacterial infection, when it comes to virus infection, timing and your own body immunity are all that matters. Most common viruses that cause cold and flu-like symptoms resolve within 7-10 days. Beside a good rest, we could try to build up our immunity to combat the virus, and thus shorten the duration of illness.
With the combination of Echinacea purpurea and Elderberry, 1 sachet of Wellone a day could actually gives you the protection needed daily. Echinacea purpurea is one of the ancient herbs widely used in Europe for colds, flu and upper respiratory tract infections. Elderberry is rich in anthocyanins which has the highest antioxidant properties and together with the mixed berries (blueberry, blackcurrant, raspberry, grape and blackberry), they can provide abundance of vitamin C to elevate your immune system and protect you from the harmful viruses.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. n.d. Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/patientsafety/features/be-antibiotics-aware.html> [Accessed 26 April 2022].
- GoHealth Urgent Care. n.d. Get Smart About Antibiotics: When Are Antibiotics Right For You? | GoHealth Urgent Care. [online] Available at: <https://www.gohealthuc.com/library/how-decide-bacterial-or-viral> [Accessed 26 April 2022].
- Mariappan, V., Vellasamy, K., Mohamad, N., Subramaniam, S. and Vadivelu, J., 2021. OneHealth Approaches Contribute Towards Antimicrobial Resistance: Malaysian Perspective. Frontiers in Microbiology, [online] 12. Available at: <https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2021.718774/full#:~:text=An%20increase%20in%20antibiotic%20resistance,%5BMOH%5D%2C%202018> [Accessed 26 April 2022].
- New Straits Times. 2021. Increased antimicrobial resistance a worrying threat, says Khairy. [online] Available at: <https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2021/11/747074/increased-antimicrobial-resistance-worrying-threat-says-khairy> [Accessed 26 April 2022].
- Statista Infographics. 2015. Infographic: Deaths From Drug-Resistant Infections Set To Skyrocket. [online] Available at: <https://www.statista.com/chart/3095/drug-resistant-infections/> [Accessed 26 April 2022].
By Chua Yung Sin
- Registered Pharmacist RPh. 22087
- Graduated from Malaysian Allied Health Sciences Academy (MAHSA) University with Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons.)