Patients often come to the office for illness and expect or request an antibiotic to help them overcome their symptoms. When indicated, antibiotics are an important part of treatment for bacterial infections. However, most often acute illnesses are viral – which means that antibiotics are not helpful. In fact, using antibiotics when they are not needed can be dangerous.

Common concerns that do not usually require antibiotics include:

Bronchitis (90% of cases are viral)

Signs and symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

  • Coughing that produces mucus (you may not see mucus during the first few days you are sick)
  • Soreness in the chest
  • Fatigue (being tired)
  • Mild headache
  • Mild body aches
  • Fever (usually less than 101 °F)
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore throat
Most symptoms of acute bronchitis last for up to 2 weeks, but the cough can last up to 8 weeks in some people. 

Common Cold

When germs that cause colds first infect the nose and sinuses (air-filled pockets in the face), the nose makes clear mucus. This helps wash the germs from the nose and sinuses. After two or three days, mucus may change to a white, yellow, or green color. This is normal and does not mean you or your child needs antibiotics. Other signs and symptoms of the common cold can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Post-nasal drip (mucus dripping down your throat)
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild headache
  • Mild body aches

These symptoms can last for up to 2 weeks.



In adults, 9 out of 10 cases of sinusitis (sinus infection) are caused by a virus.

Common signs and symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Headache
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Loss of the sense of smell
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Postnasal drip (mucus drips down the throat from the nose)
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue (being tired)
  • Bad breath

Sore Throat

In adults, sore throat is caused by a virus in 9 out of 10 cases. This means that an antibiotic will not help relief symptoms or shorten the course of your illness.

For additional information:

Taking antibiotics when they are not indicated can be dangerous. Serious consequences include drug reaction, increased risk for drug resistant infection, and clostridium difficile – a serious infection caused when antibiotics kill healthy bacteria in your gut.

Our goal is to evaluate and appropriately treat your symptoms. When indicated, antibiotics are potentially lifesaving. However, overuse of antibiotics has become a serious health issue – and we will avoid prescribing treatment when it is inappropriate. 

Stay Warm!

Winter means colder temperatures. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can be dangerous – especially for the elderly. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature becomes low and stays low. This can cause symptoms such as shivering, confusion, loss of consciousness, and changes in heart rate. It is important to avoid prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Accidental exposure should be addressed immediately – do not hesitate to call 911.  Prevent hypothermia with appropriate outerwear (coat, hat, gloves, and scarf), multiple layers of loose fitting clothing, blankets, and appropriate indoor heating.


Stay Safe!

Walkways can be slick in the winter months. Rain, snow, and ice can create fall hazards. Please slow down and allow extra travel time – rushing can lead to falls. Also, wear shoes that provide traction. Be careful entering and exiting your car – lots of falls occur when entering/exiting vehicles. Be mindful of black ice – it is hard to see but is just as slippery. Avoid travel whenever possible on snowy/icy days.

Stay Healthy!

Cold and flu season is upon us. Prevention is key. If you have not yet received a flu vaccine it is not too late – stop by the office for your vaccine today! Avoid being around others who are sick whenever possible. If you are ill, limit travel and time away from home until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours (unless you are seeking medical treatment). Wash your hands with soap and water – wash often! Cover coughs and sneezes, and throw tissues into the trash as soon as they have been used. Seek medical attention for any concerning symptom or prolonged illness.