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Valley-Wide Health Systems Medical Clinics are open and seeing all patients. We also have telehealth appointments available for most healthcare needs. Please call 719-589-3658 to get started.

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Health Tip of the Month: Antibiotics for Viral Infections?

Although both viral infections and bacterial infections may have you feeling under the weather, they respond to treatment very differently. Both viruses and bacteria can cause sinus and ear infections. Viruses most likely cause bronchitis, common colds, runny nose, sore throat (except for strep), and the flu. Unlike bacterial infections, which respond to antibiotics, viruses do not. The best thing we can do is rest and drink lots of fluid. Usually most patients will feel better in 3 – 7 days. Your body’s immune system will naturally fight viruses so it is important to give yourself time to rest and let your body do its job. We can help keep ourselves and others healthy by washing our hands regularly, covering our mouths when we cough, and getting recommended vaccines.

It is important that you talk to your doctor about your expectations when it comes to antibiotics. Although we may think we need an antibiotic it may not be the best thing for us. It is important we work together to only use antibiotics when necessary. Valley-Wide is committed to only prescribing antibiotics when the benefit outweighs the risk. Prescribing antibiotics when not necessary can make treating bacterial infections even more difficult putting you and loved ones at risk. Exposing bacteria to antibiotics when not necessary can cause resistance and creates bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotics. Each year close to two million people get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and at least 23,000 people die as a result.

If you are prescribed an antibiotic for a viral infection not only will it not make you feel better but it puts you at risk for side effects. One in five medication related ER visits are due to antibiotics which can be avoided if we work together as a team and only use antibiotics when it is absolutely necessary. We also want to make sure you are getting the care you deserve so it is important we have a clear expectation and you feel your needs are being addressed. Valley-Wide is committed to caring for you as an individual and as a member of the community as a whole!