No antibiotics for flu; it makes things worse
Overuse of antibiotics causes the body to develop a resistance yielding them less effective. In fact, at least 2 million Americans become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics on a yearly basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Dr. William Kok of MedExpress said he's seen a lot of flu and a lot of strep cases recently. Strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by group A Streptococcusbacteria (called "group A strep").
"A virus is a small particle that lives inside a cell and it causes illness," Kok said. "Bacteria is a single cell that affects the cell from the outside and causes illness. It doesn't actually invade inside the cell. The only one that we treat with antiviral is the flu. Shingles can be treated with an antiviral, but that's not what we consider a cold."
Bacteria that is pathogenic is treated with antibiotics, according to Kok.
"There's a lot of common colds, which are mostly viral, that we don't treat with antibiotics," Kok said. "We don't treat any virals with antibiotics because they don't work on antibiotics. With colds, a lot of the time people think they want to be treated with antibiotics, thinking the antibiotics will fix the cold, but it won't. What we try to do at the office is determine whether you've got a bacterial infection that needs to be treated or you just have a viral infection, which just needs some symptomatic treatment."