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Colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses in adults


November 2, 2019

BY: Andrew Matthews MD MHA

When you need antibiotics—and when you don’t.

If you have a sore throat, cough, or sinus pain, you might expect to take antibiotics. After all, you feel bad, and you want to get better fast. But antibiotics don’t help most respiratory infections, and they can even be harmful. Here’s why.

Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.

Antibiotics fight infections caused by bacteria. But most respiratory infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics can’t cure a virus.

Viruses cause:

• All colds and flu.

• Almost all sinus infections.

• Most bronchit...

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