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Snort Sniffle Sneeze No Antibiotics Please

3 Jan

Antibiotics were once hailed as a miracle drug, but are now widely misused and overused.

Antibiotics used incorrectly are bad for your health and are leading to “super bugs”.

The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) has a large media campaign to decrease the use of antibiotics in society. The campaign is titled “Snort Sniffle Sneeze, No Antibiotics Please”. I will highlight the main points from this campaign and encourage you to learn further.

Here are some of the main points from the Snort Sniffle Sneeze, No Antibiotics Please campaign:

  • Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics do nothing for viral infections.
  • “Cold or Flu, Antibiotics don’t work for you.”
  • Viral infections cause most of the snort, sniffle, and sneezes. (Most coughs, colds, bronchitis, sinus infections, and sore throats as well as some ear infections).
  • Using an antibiotic for a viral infection will NOT cure the infection, will NOT help you feel better, will NOT keep others from catching the illness.
  • Most sore throats DO NOT require an antibiotic.
  • Green colored mucus is NOT a sign that an antibiotic is needed.
  • Some ear infections DO NOT require an antibiotic.

When used incorrectly antibiotics can be harmful to your health:

  • Antibiotics kill good bacteria in your child’s body, which may lead to complications, such as diarrhea or yeast infection.
  • Cause a serious allergic reaction that may require hospitalization.
  • Result in an antibiotic-resistant infection. Resistant bacteria are stronger and harder to kill. They can stay in your child’s body and can cause severe illnesses that cannot be cured with antibiotics. A cure for a resistant infection may require stronger treatment–and possibly a hospital stay.

Check out the CDC campaign brochures yourself: Antibiotics aren’t always the answer CDC PDF Know when Antibiotics don’t work CDC PDF

Here is a simpler version from Public Health Ontario touching on a similar topic but specific to ear infections:

public health ontario ear infection information

Here is a video message from the CDC that is entertaining and gets to the point that if you are having Snorts, Sniffles, or Sneezes, then say No Antibiotics Please!

Here is a 2019 video from Consumer Reports regarding 5 myths about antibiotics.

The CDC video has some suggestions beyond avoiding the improper use of antibiotics. It goes on to offer some suggestions such as:

  • Sooth a sore throat with ice chips, sore throat spray, or lozenges (but don’t give lozenges to young children)
  • use a moist cloth over an ear that hurts
  • to help relieve a cold, use a clean humidifier, a cool mist vaporizer, or breath in steam from a bowl or shower.

How Long Does a Cough Last Anyways?

Below are excerpts from a research paper regarding how long a cough lasts compared with how long people think the cold should last.  Interesting and great addition to the topic of Snort, Sniffle, Sneeze – No Antibiotics Please!  According to their investigation into the research, the cough normally lasts 18 days.  This is not a very comfortable 18 days! But it is reassuring to know that your body is not pathologically broken when you are sick for that long.   I try my best to listen to and support my body while fighting a cough in order to recover quicker than the “normal” 18 days.  – Dr. Callum Peever

Comparing Patients’ Expectations With Data From a Systematic Review of the Literature

“Although typically a self-limited condition caused by viruses, many patients seek care and request antibiotics for acute cough illness.”

“The rate of antibiotic prescribing for acute cough illness remains too high.”

“The mean duration of cough in the published literature is 18 days (rounded).”

“Survey respondents reported a median duration of cough 5 to 7 days.”

“There is a mismatch between patients’ expectations regarding the duration of acute cough illness and the actual duration based on the best available evidence. Efforts to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use should target this discrepancy. We found a significant mismatch between expectations of community-dwelling adults regarding the mean duration of a typical acute cough illness (5-7 days) and the actual duration of acute cough illness from the medical literature (approximately 18 days).”

“If a patient expects that an episode of acute cough illness should last about 6 or 7 days, it makes sense that they might seek care for that episode and request an antibiotic after 5 or 6 days. Furthermore, if they begin taking an antibiotic 7 days after the onset of symptoms, they may begin to feel better 3 or 4 days later, with the episode fully resolving 10 days later. Although this outcome may reinforce the mistaken idea that the antibiotic worked, it is merely a reflection of the natural history of acute cough illness.”

“Patients should be told that it is normal to still be coughing 2 or even 3 weeks after onset, and that they should only seek care if they are worsening or if an alarm system, such as high fever, bloody or rusty sputum, or shortness of breath, occurs.”

 

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