Myth that antibiotics cure coughs and colds still fools people

A quarter of people wrongly believe antibiotics work on most coughs and colds, a Health Protection Agency survey has found. However antibiotics cannot treat viruses, which cause most respiratory tract infections.

The HPA poll of 1,800 people in England also found one in 10 people keep leftover antibiotics – and many would self-medicate next time they got ill…

Speaking on European Antibiotics Awareness Day, the HPA’s Dr Cliodna McNulty said self-medicating was unsafe and could fuel drug resistance.

Dr McNulty, head of primary care for the HPA, said: “The majority of people can treat themselves at home using over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms…”

The HPA says health professionals must learn to resist demands from patients for treatments they know have little or no effect on coughs and colds. It found 97% of those questioned said that the last time they had asked their GP or nurse for an antibiotic, they were prescribed one…

Dr McNulty added: “Despite many years of public health campaigns advising people that antibiotics don’t work against coughs, colds and flu, our research results show that these myths prevail…

RTFA for even more opinions – all agreeing that self-medicating with leftover antibiotics is a fool’s game. There are more and better over-the-counter symptomatic reliefs available every year. And the best bet is still to stay home and rest, force fluids, catch as much sleep as possible [watch TV talking heads deliver what they call “news” – it could put a meth junkie to sleep].

2 thoughts on “Myth that antibiotics cure coughs and colds still fools people

  1. Ursa says:

    As I am currently ‘under the weather’ I like the timeliness of the article. Sleep, fluids, cough syrup and of course: Polish penicillin: tea & Jewish penicillin: Chicken Noodle soup. Donations welcome.

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