Most colds are due to viruses (>95%) and do not respond at all to antibiotics. Your physician is most likely correct that these are colds are viral in origin, but incorrect to prescribe antibiotics - that treat bacterial infections only. Bacterial infections often have accompanying signs and symptoms that are somewhat more severe than common cold viruses. The only true way to differentiate bacterial infections from viral infections is by culture. It is common for doctors to prescribe antibiotics to their patients presenting with cold symptoms, but it is also incorrect to do so.
The following remedies may help soothe a sore throat:
- Getting rest
- Avoiding alcohol
- Quitting smoking
- Drinking warm liquids, such as lemon tea or tea with honey
- Gargling with warm salt water (1/2 tsp of salt in 1 cup of water) throughout the day
- Drinking cold liquids or sucking on fruit-flavored ice pops
- Sucking on hard candies or throat lozenges (for adults only)
- Running a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Children under 19 should not take aspirin.
If you develop a high fever or experience prolonged or worsening symptoms, seek care from your doctor or from an infectious disease specialist.
predominant circulating strain (H3N2) is genetically different than the H3N2 strain in the vaccine.