‘Antibiotics won’t cure flu’

Namrata Devikar
Sunday, 14 October 2018

WHO advises against using antibiotics as they don’t work against cold or flu viruses

Pune: With the increase in viral infections due to fluctuations in temperature, many patients tend to self-administer over the counter antibiotics. Many also get antibiotics prescribed by doctors. However, according to World Health Organisation (WHO), it is advised not to use antibiotics, as they don’t work against cold or flu. Doctors from the city also echo similar opinions.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Somnath Salgar from the Biochemistry Department of the Sassoon General Hospital (SGH) said that cold or flu happens due to viral infection.

“However, most antibiotics are for bacterial infections. And have no effect on viral infections such as flu. Hence, these antibiotics are not advised for cold or flu viruses. Patients, who tend to take self-medication, should always keep this in mind,” said Salgar.

According to WHO, influenza is an ever-evolving disease, so the work on prevention, preparedness and response needs to adapt continuously to keep up with these changes. WHO also suggests that the affected individuals should take preventive actions and should stay at home when sick. They should also wash their hands frequently.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Jyoti Gulati from Jupiter Hospital said that in India, the scenario of flu is changing.
“In India, we see that many patients come up with multiple symptoms. However, antibiotics should be given judiciously. As the line between viral and bacterial infections in India is very thin, most physicians tend to administer antibiotics. In my opinion, if the condition of the patient is not very severe for at least 48 hours, then there is no need to take antibiotics. However, if the symptoms still persist, the patient should seek medical help,” said Gulati.

She further added that in Pune, many patients also have breathlessness and other major symptoms, which might lead the medical practitioner to advise antibiotics, said Dr Gulati. Echoing similar views, Dr Kedar Deodhar, a general physician from Accord Hospital, said that all a patient needs is some rest and hydrate properly.

“Due to stressful work life, many patients take up antibiotics and do not rest. In case the patient is showing only flu symptoms, then the patient must take adequate rest and should keep themselves hydrated. Patients should also avoid taking over the counter antibiotics. In case of extreme symptoms, doctors should be consulted immediately,” said Deodhar.

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