Sniffle or Sneeze? No Antibiotics Please.

Jan 06, 2017
Photo by: Donated photo Tracey Truesdale, Pharmacy Manager at HRMC

Get Smart about Antibiotics Week, an annual one-week observance in November, raises awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of improving antibiotic use. Haywood Regional Medical Center (HRMC) wants to continue that awareness and make sure you understand the proper use of antibiotics for this flu and cold season.

“It’s very easy for anyone to get a cold and say, ‘I need a Z-Pak’, trying to get some immediate relief, but really that is not what will help you. In the long run, you’re actually building up unnecessary resistance to antibiotics that you may really need for a more serious bacterial infection,” said Tracey Truesdale, Pharmacy Manager at HRMC.

Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Colds, flu and most sore throats are caused by viruses. The CDC says, “10 percent of adults with a sore throat have strep throat actually requiring antibiotics.” The problem is, taking antibiotics when they are not needed can do more harm than good. Widespread inappropriate use of antibiotics is fueling an increase in drug-resistant bacteria. According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. Americans of all ages can lower this risk by talking to their doctors and using antibiotics appropriately during this cold and flu season.

What to do for colds and flu:

Children and adults with viral infections recover when the illness has run its course. Colds caused by viruses may last for two weeks or longer.

Measures that can help a person with a cold or flu feel better:

  • Increase fluid intake
  • Use a cool mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion
  • Soothe throat with ice chips, sore throat spray or lozenges (for older children and adults)

Patients should keep their doctor informed if their illness gets worse or lasts a long time. Viral infections can sometimes lead to bacterial infections, which would require more treatment.

Haywood Regional Medical Center has started an antimicrobial stewardship committee to ensure the proper use of antibiotic at the correct dose, time, and need.  HRMC also has a lab test available that helps prescribers distinguish between a viral infection and a bacterial infection.

If you have questions about medications or antibiotic use, contact your primary care physician. If you need a primary care provider, call our Physician Referral Line at 800.424.DOCS (3627) or visit

Haywood Regional Medical Center, a Duke LifePoint Hospital, is located in Haywood County and offers a comprehensive array of services, including orthopedics, spine services, cardiology, general surgery, women's care, emergency medicine, behavioral health, and includes 12 multi-specialty physician clinics. The campus, located in Clyde, is also home to the 54,000 square foot Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center, the 44,000 square foot Haywood Regional Outpatient Care Center (includes the outpatient surgery center, laboratory, imaging center including women's imaging and physician practices) and nearby, The Homestead, an inpatient hospice facility. Haywood Regional Medical Center also operates two urgent care centers in the county, in Waynesville and Canton.  For more information, visit