doctors or not?

Hi all I wad dx just over a month ago. I have always suffered from lots of minor infections and ended up at g.p asking for antibiotics. The thing is I would always wait til I just couldn’t stand coughing anymore or felt so rubbish I couldn’t work. I have a stinking cold at the moment that started on thursday. Should I go to gp to get antibiotics tomorrow as I am now really paranoid that this is gonna cause a relapse. Thinking about it after the last cold and cough I had I developed optic nuritus . . .has anyone else found they have relapses after common infections? ? I worry thr dr will just send me away thinking that I am a pain in the butt!!

Hi Emya,

No, a cold you’ve had for under a week won’t respond to antibiotics. A cold is a virus, but antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, not viruses.

Occasionally, the grot from the cold can lead to a secondary infection - which is bacterial. That’s where the antibiotics come in useful. But they won’t treat just a cold. And it might make them less effective next time you really do have a bacterial infection, because too much non-essential antibiotic prescription leads to all the bugs developing immunity!

Also, I’m afraid I think it’s having the cold at all that increases risk of relapse - whether or not you went on to get a secondary infection that needed antibiotics. Having common respiratory infections, including colds and flu’, increases risk of relapse for up to five or six weeks afterwards. It’s probably because the immune system has been triggered - it doesn’t necessarily relate to how terrible the cold was.

Of course, that doesn’t mean every cold WILL trigger a relapse, just that it might. But taking antibiotics for a cold (a) won’t work, and (b) won’t have any effect on your chances of a relapse.

So save the doctor’s time, and your own. If a cold doesn’t go away after MORE than a week - say about ten days, then it’s possible you do have a secondary infection, and might need antibiotics then. A normal cold should last about a week. No point asking for antibiotics before that.

Hope you feel better soon,