Jun 28, 2014
Colds Flu and Coughs.
Colds, flu and coughs are the commonest ailments to afflict all of us, men women and children but particularly children whose immune system is not yet fully developed. They are the commonest reason for doctor visits and the commonest excuse given for absenteeism from work or school.
Causes of colds, flu and coughs.
The preponderance of these ailments is caused by viruses and therefore in the vast majority of cases antibiotics are inappropriate and too often prescribed. This is an abuse of antibiotic and is not only a waste of money but also encourages the emergence of antibiotic resistance strains of bacteria (mutation). It is bad medicine with many potential side effects including the development of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and chronic vaginitis.
Why antibiotics are prescribed when they are not needed?
• Patients expect and demand antibiotics for viral illness even though they know they will not work.
• Doctors prescribe them in order to satisfy patient expectation. Doctors justify this poor practise on the bases that if they don’t prescribe antibiotics the patient may go elsewhere and they loose that patient.
The difference between colds and flu:
The two terms are all too often used synonymously and yet there is a vast difference between a head cold and influenza. A head cold is uncomfortable, debilitating to some degree and very inconvenient. However you can usually get over it on your feet or at most take a few early nights.
Influenza on the other hand is something else altogether. It sticks suddenly and is extremely debilitating such that you are bed bound, not because you want to be but rather because you have no choice. Influenza gives rise to very high temperatures and periods of low temperatures where the patient shivers. This is called rigors and it is your body’s attempt to generate some heat. Influenza lasts four to five days during which time the sufferer is totally bedbound, off all food, perspiring copiously feeling extremely weak and only managing to crawl to the bathroom when necessary.
It is not unusual for a non-productive cough to accompany or follow a head cold. These kind of coughs usually are self-limiting and do not warrant a doctor visit. They usually go away spontaneously in a matter of a week or so.
When a cough is a recurring and debilitating problem it may represent chronic bronchitis or asthma or both. Such coughs do require medical attention and probably antibiotics. Chest x-rays may also be warranted to establish diagnosis and rule out lung cancer.
If a cough develops for no obvious reason and is productive of rust coloured sputum then pneumonia or tuberculosis should be suspected and medical attention sought.
Cough Bottles. There is no good clinical evidence that any cough bottle, cough suppressant or expectorant do any good, relieve symptoms or shorten the duration of the cough. They are in the main a waste of money and time.
If you are worried about a cough that has been bothering you for some time then please get in touch with us and we will see how we can best help you.