MedWatch-Antibiotics and the common cold

MedWatch-Antibiotics and the common cold

(ABC) -Not getting a prescription for antibiotics may be the most effective treatment for the common cold.

Coughing, sniffling, suffering with a sore throat? The miserable package deal we know as the common cold. You want your doctor, and a magic pill that can make it all go away.

If that pill is an antibiotic, you may want to think twice. A new study shows that about a third of the time, Americans leave the doctor's office with prescriptions for antibiotics they don't need; that's because antibiotics are useless against most cold symptoms.

In fact, most colds are caused by viruses, and antibiotics will have no effect on them.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers used information from past health care surveys. And with antibiotic prescriptions, only 70 percent were appropriate.

So what? Well, overuse of antibiotics can make the bacteria in your body resistant, and if you do come down with a bacterial infection, antibiotics might not work because you'll be fighting a superbug.

So, next time you see the doctor with cold symptoms, don't just ask for an antibiotic…ask if an antibiotic will work.

Copyright 2016 ABC. All rights reserved.