No antibiotics please

Published: Wednesday 30 September 1998

Do not use antibiotics every time you sneeze, researchers at the National Public Health Institute of Finland have advised patients suffering from symptoms of common cold. A new study confirms that almost all colds are, in fact, caused by viruses, and so antibiotics should not be used to treat them. According to this study, most cases of cold are caused by rhinoviruses, while other viruses like respiratory syncytial virus affect a small number of people, and only very few peop!e fall prey to bacterial infections. Stuart Levy, president of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, says that these findings only reconfirm what medical scientists have recommended all along, that antibiotics should not be used to treat common cold symptoms. Antibiotics do not work on viral infections and unnecessary and inappropriate use of antibiotics contributes to the growth of antibiotic-resistantbacteria (Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Vol 36, No 2).

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