I am always confused about what a cold is, and what a virus is. How do I know? And will antibiotics work?
A. A cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract. As a result, the symptoms can range from watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and feeling congested.
The cause of a cold is viral, therefore, a virus and a cold are one and the same. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are more than 200 viruses that can cause a cold. Treatment for any viral infection, be it a cold or a fl u-like illness caused by a virus, is usually only to treat the symptoms.
A cold will generally pass over the course of a few days. Antibiotics are not used to treat any viral infection as they are not effective against these kinds of infections. In fact, the use of antibiotics with a viral illness can cause antibiotic resistance and it is very important that antibiotics not be used when they are not needed.
Published in Spring 2009