The public are now generally aware that antibiotics will only help with bacterial infections. Most chest infections of the upper respiratory system are caused by a virus of which there are over 150 strains.
Although antibiotics were used extensively in the past for a chest infection, they are not normally recommended as they can do more harm than good, as there is now increasing concerns with the side effects of chemical medicine. Studies have shown that antibiotics will not increase the recovery time of an illness in fact, it is known that they can have a detrimental effect on other medication which might have been prescribed, such as Warfarin the blood thinning drug or the contraceptive pill which can make the pill ineffective. Antibiotics are known to disturb the gut flora which affects the healthy populations of bacteria in the body.
The other reason that antibiotics are not now preferred is the knowledge that bacteria have the remarkable ability to mutate becoming resistant to other stronger and ever more sophisticated drugs developed to combat them.
The immune deficiency effect is the concern of modern medicine throughout the world. George Jacoby of the Harvard Medical School, quoted in Laurie Garret’s book, ‘The Coming Plague- Newly Emerging Diseases of the World out of Balance’, Penguin Books-“Bugs are always figuring ways to get around the antibiotics we throw at them, they adapt and come roaring back again”, no wonder, bacteria were around long before man inherited the earth and will always find around the antibiotic effect, and chest infections antibiotics in particular.
Chest infection antibiotics will normally only be considered if you are aged and have a temperature over 38 (100F), or any other condition such as Asthma or a long term condition of the lungs, you are a smoker with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and if your immune system is compromised as a result of Cancer treatment chemotherapy, or you have diabetes or pleurisy which is the inflammation of the lining of the lungs.
The greatest benefit of antibiotics seemed to be for reducing the risk of pneumonia after a chest infection, particularly in the elderly. This conclusion was as a result of research by I. Peterson and colleagues of The Centre for Infectious Disease and Epidemiology, Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, University College, London. They found that the greatest benefit of administering antibiotics for pneumonia reduced the risk after a chest infection. The size of this risk increased with the age of the patients. In the over 65 groups, 403 patients per 1000 were at risk of pneumonia, if a chest infection was untreated .This was reduced to 146 per 1000 if treated with antibiotics. Just 39 patients over 65 years would need to be treated with antibiotics to prevent one case of pneumonia compared to 119 patients between the ages of 1 and 64 year.
Their studies taken from records between 1991 and 2001 concluded that antibiotics should only be prescribed in more serious cases of chest infections.
Your immune system will be stronger and you will be better able to prevent viral and bacterial infections if you lead a healthier lifestyle!