Cold season: managing without antibiotics Jul 04 2018 We were recently sent an interesting article from the Best Practice Advocacy Centre online journal about winter illnesses and the use of antibiotics. Here are some extracts from the article: "Over the winter months, thousands of people across New Zealand will present to primary care with sore ears and throats, nasal and sinus congestion, coughs and colds. Many of these symptoms are caused by viral infections and antibiotic treatment is not appropriate. In some cases there may be bacterial infection present but the infection will be self-limiting and the adverse effects of antibiotics may outweigh potential benefits . . . Treatment options such as paracetamol, decongestants, adequate fluid intake and rest will provide the best symptomatic relief for most people with common winter illnesses . . . In many cases, the most important treatment for winter illnesses is effective communication; the patient should leave the consultation understanding what illness they are likely to have, how long their symptoms should last, what they should do to manage their symptoms and when to seek further assessment . . . A discussion about expected duration of symptoms can help reassure the patient that the course of their illness is normal. The natural course of symptoms associated with common winter illnesses is usually up to: Three to five days for fever One week for headache or sore throat A week to ten days for nasal obstruction Two weeks for nasal discharge Two to four weeks for cough" The article includes a link to an interesting infographic from the Cleveland Clinic about 'snot': https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-the-color-of-your-snot-really-means/ From: “Cold season: managing without antibiotics”, bpacnz, June, 2018. Available from: https://bpac.org.nz/2018/cold-season.aspx Extracts reproduced with permission.