Doctors Will Be Told To Promote Honey Instead Of Antibiotics To Treat Coughs

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Doctors will reportedly be told to promote honey and over-the-counter remedies as the to-go treatment for coughs rather than antibiotics.

It seems that they will be told not to offer drugs in most cases and instead encourage their patients to use self-care products under new draft guidance from the Public Health England (PHE)and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

This advice is a part of a growing effort to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance. In most of the cases that doctors have encountered, acute coughs are caused by a cold or virus flu, or bronchitis, and it will last about three weeks says the guidance.

Antibiotics seem to make a tiny difference to the symptoms and they can also have side effects which is even worse.

Treat yourself with honey 

On the other hand, patients are advised to try honey or cough medicines that contain pelargonium, guaifenesin or dextromethorphan. All of these compounds have been shown to have benefits for cough symptoms, before contacting their doctor.

Antibiotics could be used to treat coughs in patients with pre-existing conditions such as lung disease, immunosuppression or cystic fibrosis, or those at risk of further complications, according to the same guidance.

Dr. Tessa Lewis, GP, and chair of the antimicrobial prescribing guidelines group said:

“If someone has a runny nose, sore throat and cough, we would expect a cough to settle over two to three weeks, and antibiotics are not needed. People can check their symptoms on NHS Choices or NHS Direct Wales or ask their pharmacist for advice.”

She continued and stated that “If a cough is getting worse rather than better, or the person feels very unwell or breathless, then they would need to contact their GP.”

Another important thing to take into consideration is that 1 in 5 GP prescriptions for antibiotics may be inappropriate, says a research published by PHE earlier this year. More than that, overusing of the drugs is threatening their long-term effectiveness.


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