25 doctors weighed in:

Should antibiotics be used to treat the common cold?

25 doctors weighed in
Dr. Francine Yep
Family Medicine
13 doctors agree

In brief: Nope!

Viruses cause the common cold, and alas, they laugh in the face of antibiotics.
Antibiotics don't work on viruses. Just because you don't get antibiotics doesn't mean you aren't sick. You are. You're sick with something that antibiotics can't help. Meanwhile, do all the things that make you feel better until your body's immunity kicks viral butt. ::passes chicken soup and kleenex::.

In brief: Nope!

Viruses cause the common cold, and alas, they laugh in the face of antibiotics.
Antibiotics don't work on viruses. Just because you don't get antibiotics doesn't mean you aren't sick. You are. You're sick with something that antibiotics can't help. Meanwhile, do all the things that make you feel better until your body's immunity kicks viral butt. ::passes chicken soup and kleenex::.
Dr. Francine Yep
Dr. Francine Yep
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1 comment
Dr. Mary Ann Block
Probiotics may shorten a cold. Gentle osteopathic manipulation can relieve the symptoms
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Family Medicine
3 doctors agree

In brief: No

The common cold is caused by a viral infection, which do not respond to antibiotics.
As i tell patients, the strongest antibiotic will not touch the weakest virus. Fortunately, the significant majority of colds are gone within 10-14 days due to your body fighting off the virus.

In brief: No

The common cold is caused by a viral infection, which do not respond to antibiotics.
As i tell patients, the strongest antibiotic will not touch the weakest virus. Fortunately, the significant majority of colds are gone within 10-14 days due to your body fighting off the virus.
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
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Dr. Cynthia Point
Internal Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: No

Cold are caused by viruses, so antibiotics which kill bacteria won't help.
In fact if you have a viral infection and take antibiotics, not only will you not get any benefit, but you could become colonized with resistant bacteria, in your intestine and on your skin so in the future, antibiotics might not work as well if you do develop a bacterial infection.

In brief: No

Cold are caused by viruses, so antibiotics which kill bacteria won't help.
In fact if you have a viral infection and take antibiotics, not only will you not get any benefit, but you could become colonized with resistant bacteria, in your intestine and on your skin so in the future, antibiotics might not work as well if you do develop a bacterial infection.
Dr. Cynthia Point
Dr. Cynthia Point
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Dr. Dean Giannone
Internal Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: No

The common cold has a viral etiology and therefore antibiotics are not indicated.

In brief: No

The common cold has a viral etiology and therefore antibiotics are not indicated.
Dr. Dean Giannone
Dr. Dean Giannone
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Dr. Nassir Azimi
Interventional Cardiology

In brief: No

The common cold is a viral infection.

In brief: No

The common cold is a viral infection.
Dr. Nassir Azimi
Dr. Nassir Azimi
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Dr. Mary Ann Block
General Practice

In brief: No

The common cold is a virus and antibiotics do not treat viruses.
Antibiotics should be used only for bacterial infections.

In brief: No

The common cold is a virus and antibiotics do not treat viruses.
Antibiotics should be used only for bacterial infections.
Dr. Mary Ann Block
Dr. Mary Ann Block
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Dr. Michael Klein
Family Medicine

In brief: No

This is one of the most common misconceptions patients make.
The common cold is caused by virus. Antibiotics do not affect or kill viruses. There is some real risk that comes with asking your doctor for antibiotics when you have the sniffles, such as a risk of side effects including yeast infections, and most concerning, a risk of causing antibiotic resistance in existing bacteria.

In brief: No

This is one of the most common misconceptions patients make.
The common cold is caused by virus. Antibiotics do not affect or kill viruses. There is some real risk that comes with asking your doctor for antibiotics when you have the sniffles, such as a risk of side effects including yeast infections, and most concerning, a risk of causing antibiotic resistance in existing bacteria.
Dr. Michael Klein
Dr. Michael Klein
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