Health Tip of the Week, Sponsored by Baton Rouge General: Antibiotics can’t shorten the course of the common cold

    Dr. Kenny Cole

    A cold is caused by a virus or allergies that inflame the lining of the nose and throat, normally lasting 7 to 10 days. Antibiotics do not kill viruses or help with allergy symptoms—they kill bacteria. So there is no potential benefit to using antibiotics to treat a cold. Over-the-counter medications for symptom relief are very effective, but cannot be used for longer than three days. If your symptoms last longer than 10 days, get better then worse again, or are severe, talk to your doctor.

    Days 1 & 2

    Sore or scratchy throat. Throat irritation can last 24—48 hours. Symptom relief.

    Day 3

    This is when you will feel the worst, with runny nose, sneezing, fatigue, and congestion with headache. Symptom relief.

    Days 4 & 5

    Queue the cough, which can last a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Symptom relief.

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