Is it a virus?

virus (Photo credit: twenty_questions)

As we are entering the cold season we all wish to stay healthy and away from the nasty bugs that thrive in such weather. Unfortunately this is not always the case and when you get sick, the sooner you get the appropriate treatment the more likely you are to recover fully and rapidly. Homeopathic medicines and other alternative solutions can treat many conditions but there are cases where you will need antibiotics. Keep in mind that antibiotics are meant to kill bacteria, and are not effective against viruses. Inappropriate use of antibiotics has helped create strains of bacteria that are resistant to treatment (buy killing many bacteria but selecting the strongest ones, that we call ‘superbugs’). This happens when you take antibiotics unnecessarily, or when you do not complete your treatment. The large quantities of antibiotics that are commonly added to lots of or foods also contribute to this issue.

In some cases, it may be difficult to determine whether a bacteria or a virus is responsible for your condition since symptoms are often very close. Here some clues that can give an indication of what kind of infection you are experiencing:

– A bacterial infection usually only affects one part of the body, at least initially. For example, an earache or a sore throat that is very localized, painful, accompanied with fever and does not improve with time. Bacterial infections can happen suddenly or can be secondary to a viral infection: you had a cold and you are getting worse and worse, or you were feeling better and are getting worse again. Sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia are common examples of secondary infections. Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that thrive in many different types of environments, on your skin, intestines, and mucous membranes, or in the outside. Most bacteria cause no harm to us and some are even very useful (such as the ones that play an important part in our digestion).

– In a viral infection, more than one part of the body is affected. You have several symptoms at once or successively such as: sore throat, runny nose, headache, hoarseness, cough, cold symptoms, sneezing, fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Viruses are even smaller than bacteria and require living hosts  (people, plants or animals) to multiply. They cannot survive very long in the outside world (fortunately for us!). When a virus invades a body, it takes over its cells machinery in order to replicate.

Your physician will often be able to establish the diagnosis based on your symptoms, your medical history and what diseases are currently happening in your community. He or she will also perform tests to help with the diagnosis of a bacterial infection when necessary: it includes a complete blood count, cultures of certain fluids (blood culture, urine culture, or cerebrospinal fluid culture), strep test and so on.

As a reminder, here’s a homeopathic medicine you can take along with your antibiotic treatment if you want to avoid digestive issues:

Arsenicum album 9C: take 5 pellets sublingually after each antibiotic intake.