Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Medicine explained

Maybe everyone knew this but me….

I started taking antibiotics two days ago and yesterday I woke up feeling better. I thought the events were related. But it turns out that antibiotics address bacterial infections, whereas the flu is a viral infection unaffected by antibiotics. I'd heard this before, but it's information that never quite "stuck".

So why did my doctor prescribe antibiotics for me?

In my condition, bacterial infection is particularly dangerous. This flu could easily result in an upper respiratory infection that could lead to all manner of other complications. The antibiotics kill off any bacteria that might make that happen; the drugs are a preventive protection.

And what can I do to get rid of the flu?

The flu, it seems, is a self-limiting event. It runs its course and then it’s gone. The best to hope for is successful symptom management with Tylenol or Advil for aches and fever, clichéd-but-effective chicken soup, plenty of fluids, and lots of rest.

This all seems to be working just as it’s supposed to. I woke this morning from nearly twelve hours of sleep with no fever, and no awareness of any during the night. I should be good for a round of golf by tomorrow!


Tamar E. Granor said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better.

On the issue of what you can do about flu (other than getting a flu shot in the first place), there are now a couple of drugs that apparently shorten the length and/or lessen the severity of flu, if you start them as soon as you get sick. I haven't tried them myself. (Fortunately, I haven't had flu since they came on the market.)

Ceil said...

I was supposed to get a flu shot last fall, on the day I had my first allergic reaction to Genasense. The syringe was all set up and ready to go, but I ended up in the hospital instead. The doctor put it off after that until we got things sorted out with the allergy. By the time I thought to ask about it again, it was mid-January.

I can't remember the last time I had flu, so it seemed a reasonable risk to go without. But these aren't reasonable times.

Amalia said...

Keep up the good work.