Antibiotics for colds is the never ending discussion.
You may be surprised by how many patients come to ERs with colds, convinced they need antibiotics. Truth is, I can’t blame them. Schools don’t routinely teach kids that antibiotics are used against bacteria, nor that the newer “antiviral” drugs like acyclovir or valacyclovir don’t help with colds, nor that colds are caused by viruses. (I’m pretty sure it took me into my 20s to learn these gems.)
So today nearly every shift I deliver the disappointing news that I don’t have a quick fix… as I pray not to receive the present. I anxiously wait a day when we have an antiviral that actually works for colds. Whoever invents that magic bullet gets a Nobel Prize. However, for now we’re stuck with OTCs, along with red flags and happy words.