Allergies and Colds, and Why Antibiotics Do Not Work

allergies and coldsMany people think they need antibiotics from their doctor to treat their allergies and colds. However, the fact is that antibiotics are meant to treat bacteria, not viruses – and colds are caused by viruses. There is no antibiotic available that will help fight a cold. Here is some information on how an allergy and a cold differ, and why you should never take an antibiotic to fight either.

How Allergies and Colds are Different

Allergies and colds have some major differences, even though their symptoms are often similar. Colds, for example, can cause itchy eyes and sneezing just as allergies. However, colds are contagious and allergies are not. They also typically cause body aches and fever and last for anywhere from 7-10 days.

While people with allergies may be more susceptible to catching a cold, an allergy is caused by an adverse reaction to something. When this exposure occurs, the body’s immune system will release a type of chemical known as a histamine.¬†Histamines are meant to fight off intrusions detected by the immune system, but they often result in the same symptoms typically associated with allergies: sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes and others.

The duration of symptoms due to an allergy will depend on the type of treatment you receive, as well as how effectively the trigger (dust, mold, animal dander, a certain kind of food, pollen, etc.) is removed.

Why Antibiotics Could Lead to Problems

When people take antibiotics for allergies and colds, they are not only wasting their time they could actually be doing harm as well. If you unnecessarily take antibiotics, over time they gradually lose their effectiveness. When you actually need them, they will not work nearly as well as they would otherwise. The reason is that when bacteria come into contact with antibiotics over and over again, they adapt and become more resistant.

If you would like to find out how to properly treat allergies and colds, get in touch with the experts at Addison Internal Medicine. Give us a call at 972-301-7060 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.