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  • Andrew Pope, MD

Will An Antibiotic Cure My Cold?



Black Dog with a scarf, thermometer, and ice pack
Dog with a Cold


As a society, we have come to rely heavily on antibiotics to treat any and all infections that come our way. However, antibiotics are not a cure-all, and when it comes to the common cold, they are virtually useless. In this blog, we will examine why antibiotics do not work against the common cold and what you can do to treat this annoying, but ultimately harmless, illness.


The Common Cold is a Virus, Not Bacteria The common cold is caused by a virus, specifically the rhinovirus. Antibiotics are designed to target and kill bacteria, not viruses. This means that even if you take antibiotics for a cold, they will not do anything to kill the virus that is causing your symptoms.


Antibiotics Can Do More Harm Than Good While antibiotics may not cure the common cold, they can still cause damage to your body. Taking antibiotics when you don't need them can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This means that if you ever do get an infection caused by bacteria, the antibiotics that would normally cure it may not work. Additionally, taking antibiotics when you don't need them can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in your gut, leading to digestive issues.


The Common Cold Will Eventually Go Away On Its Own The common cold may be unpleasant, but it is not dangerous. Most people will recover from a cold within a week or two without any medical intervention. While you may feel like you need to do something to speed up the process, taking antibiotics will not make your cold go away any faster. In fact, it may make it last longer, as antibiotics can disrupt the natural healing process of your body.


What You Can Do To Treat A Cold If you have a cold, the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and use over-the-counter remedies like pain relievers and decongestants to relieve your symptoms. If you are having trouble breathing, or if your symptoms are severe, it may be a good idea to see a doctor, but otherwise, there is no need to seek medical treatment for a cold.


In conclusion, antibiotics do not work against the common cold because the common cold is caused by a virus, not bacteria. Taking antibiotics for a cold can do more harm than good, and the common cold will eventually go away on its own. If you have a cold, the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself and let your body's natural healing process do its work.


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