Friday 25 January 2008 - Filed under Science
Dr. Craig Bowron posted a great article at MinnPost about colds, the flu and antibiotics. His first point is that there is a new test that is “capable of detecting 12 of the most-common viruses causing upper respiratory infection. Its net includes the major players like rhinovirus, the purveyor of the majority of colds; Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the wintertime scourge amongst infants and young children, and Influenza A and B.” The bad news? It is going to cost “in the hundreds of dollars“.
The other point, which is not made enough to the general public, is that you almost never really need antibiotics:
…the clinical benefit that patients typically attribute to antibiotics is more often circumstance than cause and effect.
“You’re seven to 10 days into a bout of bronchitis — you’re still coughing stuff up, your chest is sore, so you go into the clinic and get a Z-pak (the antibiotic azithromycin),” he explained. “And you get better. And you feel better because the time frame superimposes perfectly on the natural course of the illness, which is 14 to 16 days.”
On a closely related topic I asked PZ Myers about anti-bacterial products vs. soap and he said:
Normal soap lyses cell membranes — it dissolves the lipid bilayer. It physically blows apart the cells. (Your skin cells are safe because they are protected by layers of keratin, a protein).
Anti-bacterial soaps are gimmicks that do more harm than good, and you should avoid them. They simply don’t kill bacteria at all efficiently.
2008-01-25 » lolife