Should You Take Antibiotics for Colds?
Every time they come down with something, some people beg their doctor for antibiotics that:
- Can cause diarrhea and destroy healthy bacteria in the digestive tract
- Land more than 140,000 people in the emergency room every year
- Only help about one in 4,000 patients avoid a serious complication
- And do nothing to relieve their symptoms (because they only work for bacteria, not the viruses that are causing their cold symptoms)
Antibiotics are well known to be useless for colds, influenza, most sore throats and the vast majority of bronchitis cases, because those illnesses are caused by viruses. Antibiotics kill only bacteria. Every time people take unneeded antibiotics, they encourage the growth of bacterial strains that resist antibiotics, creating hard-to-control “superbugs” like MRSA.
Nonetheless, half of antibiotic prescriptions still go to people with viral illnesses.
There is a time and place for antibiotics and they save many lives, but they need to be used sparingly and judiciously.
Here are better options than taking antibiotics when you have a cold or the flu:
- Do all the things you know you should do to keep your immune system healthy – get good sleep, reduce your stress, drink lots of water, avoid sugar and processed foods, cut out alcohol.
- Boost your immune system’s efforts to fight off the virus with herbs like echinacea and reishi mushroom extract.
- Whip up some Gingerbread Cookie tea to help ease your cold symptoms:Gingerbread Cookie Tea for Colds
5-6 cups of water
Fresh ginger root sliced (~ 2 tbsps)
A couple of cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon lemon or orange zest
Bring to a boil briefly; reduce to a simmer in a pot with a tight fitting lid for 20-40 minutes (10 minutes for kids).
In a mug put:
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon raw honey
Add the simmered ginger, cinnamon, citrus peel decoction and enjoy. Reheat on stove throughout the day. This formula tastes good, is antimicrobial, anti nauseant, clears mucous, and helps enhance or clear a fever.