No, You Shouldn’t Be Using Antibiotics to Treat COVID

If you have COVID, neither resting up in bed or going to the hospital sounds like a vibe-and-a-half. That’s why asking the doctor for some antibiotics might be tempting. 

However, according to Dr. Andrew Thompson, the Medical Director at InstantScripts, this might not be the smartest move. “We have seen an increase in patients requesting antibiotics for flu and COVID,” said Thompson. “And it is important to know the difference between bacterial illnesses, which may require such medicines, and viral illnesses, which don’t.” 

Is COVID a Bacterial Illness or a Viral Illness?

Bacterial illnesses happen when bacteria grows in the numbers on an infection. This infection could be a cut on your skin or in your gut, just to name a few. Thompson explained that two examples of bacterial illnesses are strep throat and urinary tract infections

Viral illnesses, on the other hand, are a different beast. “Viral infections are caused by viruses, much smaller particles that are not living organisms, but rather invade our own normal healthy cells and use our own machinery to reproduce,” explained Thompson. “Examples are the common cold and chickenpox.” Another example is COVID

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Why Mixing COVID With Antibiotics Might Not Work

Thompson has some reasons as to why antibiotics might not cure your COVID. “We know that a vast majority of respiratory infections are caused by a virus and will not respond to antibiotics,” stated Thompson. “There are certain clinical features such as persistent high-grade temperatures, swollen lymph nodes or the presence of infected material that may indicate a bacterial infection is more likely. However, there is significant overlap and these symptoms don’t provide a definitive diagnosis.”

Thompson also noted, “Those who are concerned, have severe or debilitating symptoms or are feeling shortness of breath should consult with their doctor, who will examine them and order investigations such as blood tests, swabs or even x-rays to determine a diagnosis and the correct course of treatment.”

Moreover, if you’re concerned about having COVID or what to do if you get it, talk with your GP. They know you and your personal situation the best. They’ll be able to give you the advice or support that you need.

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