Flu Season … Wait Before Taking That Z-Pack!

Flu Season ... Wait Before Taking That Z-Pack!
Flu Season ... Wait Before Taking That Z-Pack!
Suzanne B. Robotti
Suzanne B. Robotti Executive Director

Z-Pack and the Flu

The flu season is heading straight towards us. I was taught that it takes a week to get over a cold or you can take cold medicine and it will only take 7 days. The symptoms can be alleviated, but the cold will go on. Antibiotics like a Z-pack won’t do any good because a flu is a virus. I thought the flu was bacterial and would respond to antibiotics but I was wrong — most of the time the flu is a virus also.

I asked my doctor, Eileen Hoffman, MD, (and Clinical Associate Professor, Dept. of Medicine at NYU Langone Center) what the deal was. She told me that she just finished a course at Harvard on Infectious Diseases in Primary Care. “The bottom line is most things don’t require antibiotics — especially respiratory ones: Green phlegm can be seen in viral infections and doesn’t mean it’s bacterial and requires antibiotics.” The Harvard course recommended waiting 2 WEEKS before using antibiotics to treat a cough.

There are exceptions, Dr. Hoffman noted. Community acquired pneumonia is different and is usually best diagnosed with a physical exam and chest x-ray. “They also recommended using older antibiotics as they have better response and less adverse events,” she added.

There are good reasons to avoid using antibiotics unless definitely needed. Side effects include diarrhea and vomiting; either can cause dehydration which is much more life-threatening than a cold. Antibiotic resistance is a very real concern. The term is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not that you develop a resistance to antibiotics, instead the bacteria in your body grows stronger than the typical antibiotic can manage.

Dr. Hoffman said, “More worrisome than antibiotic resistance is MRSA [methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus] which is epidemic now in the overuse of antibiotics.”

So get your flu shot, stock up on cough drops. But don’t pressure your doctor into giving you antibiotics for the flu. Save the big guns so that they will work when you need them.

DISCLAIMER: MedShadow provides information and resources related to medications, their effects, and potential side effects. However, it is important to note that we are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on our site is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Individuals dealing with medical conditions or symptoms should seek guidance from a licensed healthcare professional, such as a physician or pharmacist, who can provide personalized medical advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

While we strive to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented on MedShadow, we cannot guarantee its completeness or suitability for any particular individual's medical needs. Therefore, we strongly encourage users to consult with qualified healthcare professionals regarding any health-related concerns or decisions. By accessing and using MedShadow, you acknowledge and agree that the information provided on the site is not a substitute for professional medical advice and that you should always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns.

Was This Article Helpful?

Executive Director
Show Comments (0)
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x