SHOULD WE BE GIVING ANTIBIOTICS TO TREAT THE COMMON COLD?
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Should we be giving antibiotics to treat thee common cold?
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Imagine that you are Rip Van Winkle MD and dozed off for just a hundred years.
Now imagine how medicine will be practiced.
Perhaps breast milk will be a thing of the past and we will be feeding our children motor oil.
Perhaps we will be introducing peanuts and other allergenic food products at a week of age.
And just perhaps we will be treating the common cold with Zithromax. ( unfortunately, already used as a cure all antibiotic for common colds and other viral infections at many local medical practices)
That last idea, perhaps not so preposterous.
In a new study published November 17th in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), children who were at high risk of infection were given a maximum dose of Azithromycin at the earliest sign of a common cold.
The study group exhibited a lower incidence of lower track infection including wheezing and pneumonia than did the control group. Azithromycin does possess some antiviral and anti inflammatory properties , separate from its anti bacterial properties, and in a certain subset of the population this type of use in the future may turn out to be beneficial.
It is important to note that researchers found Zithromax resistant bacteria in both the treatment and control group cohorts of the study.
For the mean time at least, please do not feed your newborn infant motor oil; be judicious in the introduction of allergenic foods to infants and toddlers; and certainly do not ask me or any other physician to prescribe antibiotics to treat the common cold.
In the meantime we continue to be proud that our practice has one of the lowest rates of antibiotic use as well as some of the lowest rates for hospitalization and surgery in the area.