As soon as it gets colder, winter ailments come knocking at the door, often sending young and old to the doctor. Sore throats, ear infections, stuffed or runny nose... What is the best way to treat these irritating symptoms so you don't miss school or work?
Antibiotics: yes or no?
In most cases, antibiotics are not necessary to treat seasonal ailments such as sore throats, ear or nasal infections. This is simply because these infections are usually caused by viruses and not bacteria. So there is no point in trying to fight viruses with antibiotics! Only a medical examination and an assessment of the situation can confirm the value of antibiotic treatment. Indeed, doctors very often prefer to wait a day or two to see how the symptoms unfold before prescribing antibiotics.
So what should we take?
To treat seasonal ailments, the priority is to relieve unpleasant symptoms in order to regain maximum comfort:
- anti-inflammatory medication that reduce the effects of inflammation (tablets, throat spray, etc.);
- conventional painkillers (pills, syrup, etc.) and anaesthetic medication (spray, lozenges, etc.) to relieve pain;
- regular nasal irrigation with saline solution, facilitates the elimination of germs and nasal secretions and reduces irritation, and throat and nose discharge;
- decongestant medication (spray or drops) that helps you breathe more easily.
It is then important to help the body to defend itself by limiting the spread of bacteria that can cause infections or complications (pathogenic bacteria). We now know the role of vitamin D in supporting the immune system and the value of supplements during the winter months. But there is also a particularly interesting strain of bacteria, Streptococcus Salivarius K12. Naturally present in the mouth, this bacterium has the ability to eliminate bad bacteria that cause infections and to create a kind of protective barrier against them1. It's scientifically proven! This bacterium can help fight some seasonal infections.
By helping the body fight the development of certain potentially pathogenic bacteria, Streptococcus Salivarius K12 helps children and adults alike, to fight common infections. It could also act preventively in people who are prone to repeated infections, by limiting the risk of infection and reducing the number of days of absence or treatment1. Several studies have shown that this bacterium can be used safely in tackling seasonal ailments.
Available as a dietary supplement, Streptococcus salivarius K12 is used in combination with vitamin D for its effect on the immune system.
1Di Pierro et al. (2014). Drug Health Patient Saf 13(6): 15-20