Maybe the best medicine is no medicine at all
You feel lousy. Maybe it's a bad cold; maybe it's the flu.
If you go to the doctor, you expect to get something to make you feel better, like a prescription for antibiotics.
"Patients feel cheated if they don't get a prescription for something," said Dr. John Swartzberg at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
But that's not how medicine works. Swartzberg says too many people are being prescribed antibiotics when they don't need them.
"Most of these drugs are very safe, but even the most safe ones can have profound side effects," he said.
Dr. Swartzberg reminds us that antibiotics are for treating bacterial infections, not viral ones. They won't cure your cold or help fight the flu.
"Influenza is a virus, so antibiotics won't help at all, and they won't help preventing secondary bacterial complications from influenza," he said. "And for sore throats, the vast majority are due to viruses and unless you have a strep throat - which is a bacterium - antibiotics won't help you."
But the over-use of antibiotics does cause drug-resistant super bugs and they are a threat to us all.
CDC: Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer