Winter is among us and so is Flu Season! Viral infections are easily spread as family and friends get together to celebrate the holidays.  The best prevention to getting sick is with a yearly Flu shot, frequent hand washing, and if sick to cover your cough and sneeze.  If you are among the unfortunate to become sick, please keep in mind that antibiotics are not always necessary to help you get over the dreaded head colds, stuffy noses, sore throats, and coughs of winter!

The thing about antibiotics is that they only treat bacterial infections and most of what causes us to not feel well during the winter months is likely viral.  According to the CDC each year 23,000 die and 2 million illnesses are a result of antibiotic resistance, which is when an infection is caused by a type of bacteria that current types of antibiotics no longer are able to treat.  A great, and easy way to slow the rate of resistance is to only use antibiotics when necessary.  And it’s only necessary when you have a bacterial infection.  Not to mention that antibiotics have serious side effects and allergic reactions that cause 50,000 children to visit the ER yearly.

How can you tell if you have a virus vs bacteria that’s causing you to feel ill?  Symptoms likely to be viral include a cough, nasal discharge and congestion, hoarseness, sore throat, achy tired feeling, diarrhea, and even some ear infections.  Unfortunately, the most common upper respiratory infections’ worst symptoms can last up to a week, leaving the cough and malaise to linger for weeks and sinus infections even longer.  To feel better when infected with a virus treat the symptoms with pain relievers, fever reducers, saline nasal spray or drops, warm compresses, increasing liquids, and rest.  Talk with your healthcare professional about proper treatment of you or your child’s illness and if they determine you need an antibiotic make sure it’s the one that best targets the bacteria causing your illness.

Kristy is a board certified family nurse practitioner who joined Exodus Healthcare Network in 2015.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends, outdoor activities, knitting, reading, cooking, and traveling. Kristy speaks Spanish and has a special clinical interest in women’s health and palliative care.   In this article she gives insight into antibiotics usage.      

Kristy Cardoza, FNP, is located at Exodus Healthcare Network, 3665 S. 8400 W. Suite 100 in Magna.  She is now accepting new patients.  If you would like to talk with Kristy, please call 801-250-9638 to make an appointment.