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Should we take antibiotics for a virus?

I have had a cough / cold for 10 days, chest hurts so much from coughing if someone told me I had a broken rib I wouldn't be surprised! Went to the docs to get checked over where she tells me that it is just a virus but gave me some antibiotics in view of my history and then told me to try not to take them as the virus will go away eventually.

In light of the latest news on antibiotics should we refuse them in cases like this, but then why are we being given a prescription in the first place?

7 Replies

Anti-biotics are anti-bacterial, so are ineffective against a virus. Your GP is hedging her bets - you have the symptoms of a chest infection, but she knows there is a virus doing the rounds. In your case, because of your lupus, show knows that you will have trouble fighting an infection, and that you could get worse (or other) infections on top of what you have now.

I would do as she advises. If after another week or so - you are not getting better, I would take them. Or if you seem to be getting worse, I would take them. If you CAN get better on your own, then that is a good idea. Are you taking immune-suppressing drugs - such as steroids or MTX? then take the Antibiotics. Do you have a heavy workload or loads of stress? then take the antibiotics.

If you are worried, make another appt. with your GP to talk it through. I am not a doctor and I can't see you - so I am just guessing about all this. I can only say what I wold do!

Hope you feel a bit better soon!


Thanks maggie,

I am taking mycophenolate, mepacrine and plaquenil and steroids, unfortunately I am no longer able to work.

Will give it another couple of days and see how I am then.


I'm on Mycophen/plaq/steroids too- my GP always gives me antibiotics to be on the safe side as we are very vulnerable due to the immunosupp drugs. Don't forget that if you are taking painkillers & anti-inflammatories that can mask the symptoms & pain of something more serious- also we are used to generally feeling crap anway- i once turned up to a rheumy appt with a cough- & he said i had bronchitis & had written a prescrip out b4 i even sat down! Hope u feel better soon! Sxx


As MaggieS Says Have a warm glass of Water Lemon Honey,my doctor swears by this.

and do several times a day.

Love & Sunshine



Hope it is just a virus and you get better soon. If you don't, however, keep on at them. And keep on and keep on and keep on..... They fobbed me off with 'virus', 'irritable airways' and God knows what else for over 2 years before anyone took me seriously. Now suspected chronic pneumonia which is both troublesome and difficult to treat. Hopefully this isn't you, but just keep vigilant and assertive!! :-)


your lucky to have gotten antibiotics.

i had a virus october last year i was coughing blood, and the gp refused to give me antibiotics he said it would be gone in 2 days, and i reminded him of his mis diagnoses before, so he gave me a script. but i was right he hadnt gone in 2 days and i did need those antibiotics, i was going to change doctors but looks like its something there all doing.


I was prescribed antibiotics for a chest infection and I felt worse. Then read the leaflet which said don't take if you have auto immune disease. Phoned the surgery got my usual doctor who said I could take antibiotics but not the kind I had been given. She prescribed an alternative and I had no problems. So would say just be cautious and read the leaflet. Hope you feel better soon. x


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