With the advent of the winter season and change in the weather, it is time for spread of colds and influenza. The young and the old alike come under the grip of the infectious disease. To get rid of it as quickly as possible, many patients resort to treatment at private hospitals and clinics.
Unfortunately, as the complaints have been, many of these healthcare centres do not adhere to the internationally accepted guidelines while treating patients with cold and influenza!
Personally, I have observed that in many private clinics or institutions, patients are given a cocktail treatment like our mother’s home remedy for a cold. But the danger of these prescriptions is that it harms the patient in the short and long term.
One of the most dangerous of these prescriptions is that it has become a mixture of three or even more injections given to a patient at once, without knowing the health background of the patient whether he or she suffers from a chronic illness.
Alas! This is a crime against the science, the patient and our health system.
Despite concerns about growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics, we do understand that some scientists did look for alternative therapies for flu symptoms, at which a steroid medication lead to improvement in sore throat, for instance.
However, steroid treatment with such cases is surrounded by a controversy that it might mask a more serious problem. That’s really pretty important because most sore throats relate to common cold and are relatively simple. But some are dangerous as people can die or end up in the intensive care unit!
It is well known that steroid can briefly reduce swelling in the sinuses and reduce inflammation as well as dampen the immune system responses, but it also has limited effect with only one injection dose. Parallel to that antibiotic has no impact on a virus, which almost always is the cause of a cold or sinus infection.
Sadly, the care given in some private clinics denies that upper respiratory infections usually result from an infection caused by one of more than 200 viruses. They are called ‘colds’ because they tend to flourish in low humidity and colder temperatures. There is no cure. They must run their course, which can take seven to 10 days.
This means the best approach is finding ways to deal with the symptoms like sore throat and runny nose. In fact, the biggest catastrophe is that the patient takes one antibiotic injection in the sense that he does not complete the course of the antibiotic and this creates strains of highly resistant bacteria, especially in light of the screams of global health institutions from the emergence of bacterial strains that resist all antibiotics worldwide.
The main reasons for its emergence were the use of antibiotics without the need for them and the use of antibiotic without completing the course of treatment. Both causes are available in the crime of the influenza treatment without proper clinical and lab diagnosis.
On other hand, the cold which is protected by a cortisone injection is a natural defence method of the body to get rid of the virus; cortisone injections gradually transfer the virus to an advanced stage.
Although it can relieve symptoms, but in reality it weakens the immune system, however if the immune system is weak and unable to fight the virus, a simple cold may turn into pneumonia due to complications from a viral infection and the entry of secondary bacteria, due to weakened immunity.
In addition, cortisone injection can cause high blood pressure, raise the blood sugar besides many side effects, especially if it is taken more than once and frequently.
As for analgesic injection, which is the third component in this strange mixture, pain may subside in cold and flu cases, but there are lighter and less analgesics with side effects on the stomach and kidneys, especially since most of these injections are repeated and in large doses which may cause stomach ulcers and problems with the kidneys and liver.
Hence, I do suggest that before you go the route of putting your hope in a one-shot flu cocktail, it is ideal that the physicians follow the standard treatment of common cold.
Also, prepare yourself always by strengthening your immune system and changing your lifestyle to a healthy one.
At the end, each patient should not drift behind the prescription or clinics that exploit the patient for a financial goal away from the patient’s safety, even if some of your pain is relieved. Factually, this non-medical and unethical confusion must be stopped by complying with international medical standards and guidelines in the face of colds and flu.
(By Dr Yousuf Ali Al Mulla, MD, Ministry of Health, is a medical innovator and educator. For any queries regarding the content, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)