Now that flu is considered widespread in Arizona, Colorado and other parts of the country, more and more of us are going into our doctors and asking for something to treat our symptoms.
But antibiotics aren’t the answer for the flu, says Devin Minior, MD, chief medical officer for Banner Urgent Care. Banner Urgent Care, with locations throughout Arizona and Colorado, is now treating more Arizona patients for flu; Colorado has already seen large numbers of influenza cases.
“Antibiotics are great for a bacterial infection. Flu is a virus so unfortunately, there is not a good antibiotic that can be used,’’ Minior said.
When patients take antibiotics that won’t be helpful, they can create “antibiotic resistance’’ which means the medications won’t work when they are needed for a serious bacterial infection. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed also puts patients at risk of side effects, like a rash, upset stomach or diarrhea.
To tell if you may have the flu, Minior suggests looking for these symptoms: sudden onset, weakness, fatigue, cough and headache.
There are things you can do to treat the flu, including taking antivirals such as Tamiflu, Minior said.
“If you catch it in the first couple of days, we can treat individuals with antiviral medications and supportive care. The most commonly prescribed treatment is Tamiflu and it is generally effective in reducing the duration of symptoms,’’ he said.
Patients who are younger, older and those with underlying cardiac problems can also benefit from Tamiflu, he said.