32 doctors weighed in:

Why hasn't the doctor given my baby antibiotics for her cold?

32 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Leander Po
Internal Medicine - Infectious Disease
9 doctors agree

In brief: Useless vs. viruses

A majority of colds are caused by viruses (e.
g.Rhinovirus). Since antibiotics (abx) only treat bacterial infections, they are useless against primary virus infections. In fact, the time between giving an abx and when the pt feels "better", is the same as if the pt didn't take an abx.That means the pt's immune system will, in many cases, take care of it; supportive measures make it less arduous.

In brief: Useless vs. viruses

A majority of colds are caused by viruses (e.
g.Rhinovirus). Since antibiotics (abx) only treat bacterial infections, they are useless against primary virus infections. In fact, the time between giving an abx and when the pt feels "better", is the same as if the pt didn't take an abx.That means the pt's immune system will, in many cases, take care of it; supportive measures make it less arduous.
Dr. John Leander Po
Dr. John Leander Po
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Dr. Julia Sundel
Pediatrics
7 doctors agree

In brief: No need

Colds are due to viruses.
Antibiotics won't help. They are used for bacterial infections. Save them for when they truly are needed. Frequent use of antibiotics has led to the growth of resistant bacterial strains. This is not a good thing.

In brief: No need

Colds are due to viruses.
Antibiotics won't help. They are used for bacterial infections. Save them for when they truly are needed. Frequent use of antibiotics has led to the growth of resistant bacterial strains. This is not a good thing.
Dr. Julia Sundel
Dr. Julia Sundel
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Dr. Douglas Tzanetos
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
6 doctors agree

In brief: They won't help

Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections.
They do not help viral infections. Colds (upper respiratory tract infections) are caused by viruses. There are only a few head and neck infections that benefit from antibiotics. These are strep throat, ear infections, and true/full blown sinus infections (typically last longer than 2 weeks). Other upper respiratory infections do not need antibiotics.

In brief: They won't help

Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections.
They do not help viral infections. Colds (upper respiratory tract infections) are caused by viruses. There are only a few head and neck infections that benefit from antibiotics. These are strep throat, ear infections, and true/full blown sinus infections (typically last longer than 2 weeks). Other upper respiratory infections do not need antibiotics.
Dr. Douglas Tzanetos
Dr. Douglas Tzanetos
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Dr. Gregg Alexander
Pediatrics
6 doctors agree

In brief: May harm, won't help

Using antibiotics for cold viruses only puts your baby at more risk.
There are no antibiotics which fight cold viruses. Using them for a cold can actually put your baby at more risk: antibiotics can lead to diarrhea and some people have allergic reactions that can sometimes be serious. Plus, "super bugs" like MRSA come from antibiotic overuse. Your doctor hasn't given them because he/she cares.

In brief: May harm, won't help

Using antibiotics for cold viruses only puts your baby at more risk.
There are no antibiotics which fight cold viruses. Using them for a cold can actually put your baby at more risk: antibiotics can lead to diarrhea and some people have allergic reactions that can sometimes be serious. Plus, "super bugs" like MRSA come from antibiotic overuse. Your doctor hasn't given them because he/she cares.
Dr. Gregg Alexander
Dr. Gregg Alexander
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Dr. Pamela Lindor
Pediatrics
5 doctors agree

In brief: COLD = VIRAL

Antibiotics kill bacteria.
Colds are caused by viruses. All the antibiotics in the world will not help a baby fight off a cold, in fact, they can cause side effects and make the baby feel worse.

In brief: COLD = VIRAL

Antibiotics kill bacteria.
Colds are caused by viruses. All the antibiotics in the world will not help a baby fight off a cold, in fact, they can cause side effects and make the baby feel worse.
Dr. Pamela Lindor
Dr. Pamela Lindor
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Dr. Holly Maes
Pediatrics
4 doctors agree

In brief: It's a virus

Colds are caused by viruses and not bacteria, so antibiotics will not help either cure or shorten the duration of the cold's symptoms.
Your baby may develop problems secondary to the cold, such as an ear infection that may need antibiotics. But the routine virus is taken care of by your baby's own immune system and just takes time and care. Also, antibiotics can have side effects - yuk!

In brief: It's a virus

Colds are caused by viruses and not bacteria, so antibiotics will not help either cure or shorten the duration of the cold's symptoms.
Your baby may develop problems secondary to the cold, such as an ear infection that may need antibiotics. But the routine virus is taken care of by your baby's own immune system and just takes time and care. Also, antibiotics can have side effects - yuk!
Dr. Holly Maes
Dr. Holly Maes
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Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics
3 doctors agree

In brief: Doctor thinks viral

If a doctor thinks the 11 month old's cold symptoms are cause by a virus, and the symptoms are not severe, and are under 7-10 day's duration, he likely will not use antibiotics.
The common meaning of "antibiotics" is anti-bacterials. If the doctor swabs the throat and diagnoses strep throat; or an ear infection, or rhino-sinusitis (nose & sinus infection), then antibiotics will likely be used.

In brief: Doctor thinks viral

If a doctor thinks the 11 month old's cold symptoms are cause by a virus, and the symptoms are not severe, and are under 7-10 day's duration, he likely will not use antibiotics.
The common meaning of "antibiotics" is anti-bacterials. If the doctor swabs the throat and diagnoses strep throat; or an ear infection, or rhino-sinusitis (nose & sinus infection), then antibiotics will likely be used.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Dr. Robert Kwok
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Dr. Scott Katz
Pediatrics
3 doctors agree

In brief: They don't help

Colds are caused by viruses, and as such antibiotics do not help at all.
However colds can "turn into" other infections. Therefore if your child isn't getting better in a few days, or seems to be getting worse, she needs to be reexamined.

In brief: They don't help

Colds are caused by viruses, and as such antibiotics do not help at all.
However colds can "turn into" other infections. Therefore if your child isn't getting better in a few days, or seems to be getting worse, she needs to be reexamined.
Dr. Scott Katz
Dr. Scott Katz
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Dr. Arthur Torre
Pediatrics - Allergy & Asthma
3 doctors agree

In brief: Not effective

Colds are caused by viruses.
Antibiotics treat bacteria. Doctors will often give antibiotics for the complications of a cold if they develop - like ear and sinus infections.

In brief: Not effective

Colds are caused by viruses.
Antibiotics treat bacteria. Doctors will often give antibiotics for the complications of a cold if they develop - like ear and sinus infections.
Dr. Arthur Torre
Dr. Arthur Torre
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3 doctors agree

In brief: It's useless...

...For a cold. Some colds develop into more serious infections such as ear infections, but it is a bad idea to start antibiotics before you actually need them.

In brief: It's useless...

...For a cold. Some colds develop into more serious infections such as ear infections, but it is a bad idea to start antibiotics before you actually need them.
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
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1 doctor agrees

In brief: Waste of money

Most common colds are viral infections that go away on their own, the immune system takes care of them, and antibiotics are not needed nor do they work on viruses.
Antibiotics are prescribed when you have a bacterial infection.

In brief: Waste of money

Most common colds are viral infections that go away on their own, the immune system takes care of them, and antibiotics are not needed nor do they work on viruses.
Antibiotics are prescribed when you have a bacterial infection.
Dr. Josephine Ruiz-Healy
Dr. Josephine Ruiz-Healy
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1 doctor agrees

In brief: Not needed!

Colds are caused by viruses, which aren't treated by antibiotics.
All medications have side effects, and there is always a risk of a serious reaction. In addition, we now know that antibiotics cause resistance in that individual patient, so we avoid giving them if they aren't needed, because we want the medicine to work when we do need it!

In brief: Not needed!

Colds are caused by viruses, which aren't treated by antibiotics.
All medications have side effects, and there is always a risk of a serious reaction. In addition, we now know that antibiotics cause resistance in that individual patient, so we avoid giving them if they aren't needed, because we want the medicine to work when we do need it!
Dr. Victoria Acharya
Dr. Victoria Acharya
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Dr. Terri Graham
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes/no antibiotic?

Your baby's provider undoubtedly looked for all diagnoses that antibiotics would be absolutely necessary for. Those would include: ear infection or pneumonia (young babies do not have developed sinuses).
Riding out a viral infection can be frustrating, but antibiotics do not treat them. The most uncomfortable thing is a stuffy nose so using saline drops and suctioning is the best approach.

In brief: Yes/no antibiotic?

Your baby's provider undoubtedly looked for all diagnoses that antibiotics would be absolutely necessary for. Those would include: ear infection or pneumonia (young babies do not have developed sinuses).
Riding out a viral infection can be frustrating, but antibiotics do not treat them. The most uncomfortable thing is a stuffy nose so using saline drops and suctioning is the best approach.
Dr. Terri Graham
Dr. Terri Graham
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Dr. Daniel Rudolph
Pediatrics

In brief: Most colds are viral

Most common colds are caused by virsues and therefore do not need treatment with antibiotics.
Doctors are trying to limit the overuse of antitbiotics because this can lead to resistance by the bacteria they are meant to treat. In a case where it is viral, it is best to let the immune system clear the infection. Antibiotics with a viral infection will not clear the virus any faster.

In brief: Most colds are viral

Most common colds are caused by virsues and therefore do not need treatment with antibiotics.
Doctors are trying to limit the overuse of antitbiotics because this can lead to resistance by the bacteria they are meant to treat. In a case where it is viral, it is best to let the immune system clear the infection. Antibiotics with a viral infection will not clear the virus any faster.
Dr. Daniel Rudolph
Dr. Daniel Rudolph
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Dr. Jay Park
Pediatrics

In brief: They don't help

"cold" is a self-limiting infection caused by viruses which are not susceptible to antibiotics.
Does antibiotics protect the infant/child from developing a complication such as ear infection or pneumonia? Answer is no and prophylactic use of antibiotics is not justified.

In brief: They don't help

"cold" is a self-limiting infection caused by viruses which are not susceptible to antibiotics.
Does antibiotics protect the infant/child from developing a complication such as ear infection or pneumonia? Answer is no and prophylactic use of antibiotics is not justified.
Dr. Jay Park
Dr. Jay Park
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Dr. Kevin Rodbell
Pediatrics

In brief: They don't work!

Colds are caused by viruses.
Antibiotics don't kill viruses, and they can have unwanted side effects, like diarrhea, rashes, yeast infections, etc. Doctors treat antibiotics with respect and take great caution to prescribe them only when they are really going to help. Remember the modicum: the best medicine is the one you don't need to take!

In brief: They don't work!

Colds are caused by viruses.
Antibiotics don't kill viruses, and they can have unwanted side effects, like diarrhea, rashes, yeast infections, etc. Doctors treat antibiotics with respect and take great caution to prescribe them only when they are really going to help. Remember the modicum: the best medicine is the one you don't need to take!
Dr. Kevin Rodbell
Dr. Kevin Rodbell
Thank

In brief: Abx will not help

Colds are caused by viruses which cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Antibiotics should be reserved for bacterial infections. If antibiotics are prescribed for viral infections your child can develop resistance to antibiotics and when she gets a bacterial infection the medication may not be able to cure the infection.

In brief: Abx will not help

Colds are caused by viruses which cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Antibiotics should be reserved for bacterial infections. If antibiotics are prescribed for viral infections your child can develop resistance to antibiotics and when she gets a bacterial infection the medication may not be able to cure the infection.
Dr. Pamela Middleton
Dr. Pamela Middleton
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Dr. Mark Diamond
Pediatrics

In brief: Don't Work for Colds

An uncomplicated cold is a viral disease.
Antibiotics do not work to eliminate viruses. If the infection is thought to be caused by a bacteria, then antiobiotics help the body's immune system fight the disease. Too much inappropriate antibiotic use has led to resistant infections where antibiotics should but do not work. Thus be careful.

In brief: Don't Work for Colds

An uncomplicated cold is a viral disease.
Antibiotics do not work to eliminate viruses. If the infection is thought to be caused by a bacteria, then antiobiotics help the body's immune system fight the disease. Too much inappropriate antibiotic use has led to resistant infections where antibiotics should but do not work. Thus be careful.
Dr. Mark Diamond
Dr. Mark Diamond
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