Treating upper respiratory infections without antibiotics

Treating upper respiratory infections without antibiotics

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Good treatment takes a team. Not just doctors, but that includes the patient in deciding what will work best for them and following through with that prescription.

That's why Dr. Patty May, in Family Practice at Grace Clinic, is passionate about getting the word out about new government guidelines.

She admits the nation's doctors are basically getting their hands slapped by the CDC with those new guidelines on how to treat upper respiratory infections.

With the overuse of antibiotics, the government is asking doctors to say no to patients who request …or even demand…a z-pack because they think they know what works for them.

The problem is, according to the CDC, the z-pack and other popular antibiotics are not as effective  anymore. Dr. May says that explains why millions of patients are asking for a second round… because the first one didn't work like it should.

She says,  "It's real common. People come in and say I want a steriod and a z-pack and I'm like, 'No.' well, why not? Because it won't work anymore."   She adds, "I think we all want an instant cure. And antibiotic is an instant cure to us - so we demand it."

The problem, she says, is that we've all used them so much that our most popular antibiotics have run their course and become resistant to the bugs they need to fight.

That's why she says the CDC is now suggesting that a z-pack should only be prescribed when a person has strep… something that has been proven in a lab test.

Otherwise, she says, "A z-pack is pretty much a waste now."

So, what can a doctor give us when a respiratory virus makes a miserable?

Dr. May says instead of a prescription, she's giving a lot of patients with an upper respiratory bug a written excuse to take to work.  She says this is often her best advice:

"Over the counter cold medicines, chicken soup, fluids, Tylenol, Motrin and time. I've been giving people an average of 3 days off. That way, they don't spread it to other co-workers, too, and people seem to appreciate that."

If you would like to read more about the new CDC Antibiotic Treatment Recommendations for adults, go to

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