Useful information

There’s no medicine to cure a cold?


This time, the column is about medicine to fight the cold.

“It has been said that if you invent a medicine to cure the cold, it will be such a major discovery that you might win the Nobel prize.”
“What?” I’m sure you wondered. If you catch a cold and go to a hospital or clinic, in most cases you will be prescribed medicines.
Perhaps you thought that “those medicines don’t work?”
Medicine prescribed at the time of a cold is a symptomatic medicine; it is not a medicine to fundamentally cure the cold.
For example, when you have a sore throat, medicine to reduce throat inflammation is prescribed, medicine to stop coughing if coughing occurs, medicine to loosen phlegm is prescribed if you are congested….
These are medicines that can help you ease the painful symptoms caused by a cold, and it is your own immunity that will cure the cold itself.

Antibiotics are not meant to cure a cold

Then, what about “antibiotics (antibiotic drugs)”?
Many people have had the experience of being prescribed antibiotics during a cold.

Antibiotics are a group of medicines that kill bacteria. It is an antibacterial drug.
But the main cause of the cold is not bacteria, but a virus.
A cold results when viruses invade into the nose and throat, cause inflammation, and cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, cough, phlegm, and fever.
The cause of a cold is a virus, and antibiotics deal with bacteria, so they will not cure a cold, even if you take antibiotics (antibacterial drugs) specifically to cure the common cold.
This is why antibiotics are prescribed to prevent the cold from developing into pneumonia and the like, but its preventive effect has not been proven.

In the Ministry of Health’s “guideline”

Last year the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced the “Guidelines for Proper Use of Antimicrobials, First Edition”, which is a guide for how to use antibiotics.
This directive was made for the purpose of controlling medical expenses, and also due to concern that as the amount of antibiotics used increases, “drug resistant bacteria” (that is resistant to drugs – there is concern about the number of bacteria upon which drugs do not work) will increase.

In this directive, it is clearly stated that “we recommend not taking antibiotics” against the common cold (so-called cold).

A service called “Don’t take medicine”? 

By the way, in the revision of medical fee remuneration in April, a new evaluation was made for “not prescribing unnecessary antibiotics (antibiotic drugs)”.
Although for outpatient children it is explained that antibiotics (antimicrobial drugs) are unnecessary, in cases where medical guidance is given (subject to acute respiratory tract infection and acute diarrhea), it is necessary to pay in addition to the examination fee. For the patient, you will pay money upon hearing guidance on “not to take antibiotic medicine,” and you may think “what the…?”.
However, if you think that you will be investing money toward not making drug resistant bacteria in the future, won’t that convince you?