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Do Antibiotics Work for Respiratory Infections?

By HERWriter
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The short answer is, no. Or at least, not all of them.

In the last few decades as antibiotic-resistant superbugs have emerged in the general public, doctors' prescribing practices have come under extreme scrutiny. When Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 it was viewed as a wonder drug. Even before Fleming's discovery and the mass marketing efforts that followed, bread with blue mold was used to treat infected wounds in the Middle Ages. It provided physicians a way to treat people and defeat the bacteria that usually resulted in death.

Still today, many people trust antibiotics. They figure there can't be any harm in taking them even if scientifically antibiotics aren't actually effective in treating their particular illness or condition. People just know that antibiotics kill things that make them sick.

People are also looking for a quick fix. They don't want to have to suffer a runny nose or sore throat or the common cold, so they ask their doctor for a prescription. "Isn't there some kind of pill I can take?"

In the scrutiny after the last few superbugs, many doctors have been found to prescribe antibiotics for conditions and illnesses that do not respond to antibiotics. The vast majority of those doctors examined also understood that over-prescribing antibiotics had led to increased amounts of antibiotic-resistant strains of those illnesses that do respond to antibiotics.

How to Antibiotics work?

Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria, fungus, and certain parasites. They do not work against illness or conditions that are caused by viruses. Colds, the flu, most coughs and sore throats are caused by viruses. Some sinus and ear infections, and certain kinds of pneumonia and strep throat are examples of illnesses that are caused by bacteria and normally respond to antibiotic treatment.

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria or preventing them from multiplying.

Viruses are smaller than bacteria and work by actually invading your body's cells and using the cells' reproductive mechanisms to spread and multiply and create more viruses.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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