Do we treat colds with antibiotics?

antibiotic with question mark

The common cold is caused by viruses, which do not respond to antibiotics. There’s an old saying quote “treat a cold for two weeks and it will go away, and don’t treat a cold for two weeks and it will go away.” Colds typically go up and down the respiratory tract like an elevator, and stop at every floor, causing stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, body aches, and even low-grade fever.

If you have symptoms like this, its probably just a cold, and will not respond to antibiotics like the famous Z-pak. My recommendation is to get plenty of rest, fluids, and try typical antihistamines like Zyrtec over-the-counter, and Mucinex.

The important point, is that we are all called to be good stewards of antibiotics, and only take them when we absolutely need them.. Unfortunately, there are more and more resistant organisms, and less new antibiotics being introduced. The Infectious Disease Society of America has recommendations for good antibiotic stewardship. Click here for more information.