Try the Soup

So, from last week we know that taking antibiotics for common viral infections is bad for you. I mean that. It is BAD FOR YOU. You can destroy the commensal organisms that protect you against invading pathogens and promote the selection of antibiotic resistant bacteria, or superbugs.

Someone asked me if taking antibiotics for a viral infection will make you feel better. The placebo effect can be powerful and if you think something is making you feel better, it may. But remember, taking antibiotics are BAD FOR YOU if you do not have an infection that is caused (or should be treated by) antibiotics. Chicken soup would be a much better treatment for cold symptoms:

chicken soup and many of its ingredients helped stop the movement of neutrophils — white blood cells that eat up bacteria and cellular debris and which are released in great numbers by viral infections like colds.

Neutrophil activity can stimulate the release of mucous, which may be the cause of the coughs and stuffy nose caused by upper respiratory infections such as colds.

“All the ingredients were found to be inhibitory, including the boiled extract of chicken alone,” they wrote.

So chicken soup instead of antibiotics. In class discussions, we also talked about other ways individuals take antibiotics improperly. The overview was:

  • Self prescribing antibiotics because you have no health care and you don’t know what is making you feel ill. Antibiotics are always the best medicine, right?
  • Taking antibiotics only until you feel better, then saving the rest of the prescription for later (save money!).
  • Taking the rest of a prescription that was left over from last year (after the expiration date, but we all know that those dates don’t really mean anything).
  • Giving your friend the rest of the prescription (because her symptoms are the same as yours, so this antibiotic should work for her as well).
  • Buying your antibiotics from an online “doctor” who will prescribe a medication based on your “symptoms”.

None of the scenarios above are acceptable. All will drive the selection of antibiotic organisms that are the most resistant to the antibiotics you are taking and leave the most potentially dangerous organisms behind. Don’t take other people’s prescriptions, take all of your antibiotics according to instructions, and only take antibiotics for bacterial infections that require them. I know I repeat a lot, but this is important. ¬†From the WHO:

Infections caused by resistant microbes fail to respond to treatment, resulting in prolonged illness and greater risk of death.

Taking an antibiotic for a viral infection is BAD FOR YOU, try the soup.

This entry was posted in Antibiotic resistance, microbiology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.