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Common colds need common sense, not antibiotics

Parents are being urged to treat children's cold symptoms with non-medicine alternatives, and only seek to further medical advice if symptoms persist, rather than rely on cough and cold medicines.

The National Prescribing Service's 'Common colds need common sense, not antibiotics' campaign is a national strategy that aims to reduce the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The campaign states that the actual effectiveness of cough and cold medicines is clinically unproven and, in addition, they can cause side effects.

National Prescribing Service Executive Manager of the Quality Use of Medicines Programs, Karen Kaye, suggests alternative methods to ease cold symptoms:

'Rest’. Their immune system will fight the cold – it is the simplest remedy. Other options include drinking something soothing, older children could gargle warm salty water, suck on ice or a throat lozenge to provide relief from a sore throat. Saline (salt water) sprays or drops or inhaling steam from the shower may help clear mucus.'

Kaye also advises against seeking out prescribed antibiotics, since often antibiotics won't have an effect on a cold virus.

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