Signs You Need Antibiotics for That Lingering Cough
Okay, so from what I can gather from the two studies, if you have a cough that lingers after a cold or the flu and you can’t get to a doctor but have antibiotics, consider them if any of these things occur:
- Your symptoms are worsening.
- You’re short of breath.
- You have bloody or rusty sputum.
- You have a fever over 101 and the flu’s not going around.
- Your pulse stays consistently above 100 (and the flu’s not going around).
- Someone can hear rhonchi, wheezes, or rales on chest exam. (See my pneumonia post for further explanation.)
- You’ve had facial or teeth pain and a nasty nasal discharge for over a week.
Which antibiotics? Almost any will do the job in a healthy adult. I like erythromycin or ciprofloxacin, especially if you suspect pneumonia. Azithromycin and clarithromycin are in the same class of drugs as erythromycin. (You can learn more about different antibiotics—and where to get them—here.)
For the cough itself, check out my post on using honey.
And what about the lingering cough that just never goes away? See my post on eight things that make you cough.
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