Colds and flu

Updated 11 July 2014

Over-the-counter drugs or antibiotics?

Many people who have flu are unsure which of these medications to take when.


Over-the-counter drugs treat symptoms of flu, but not the cause. It will not cure flu, but will relief some symptoms. If the flu is not very severe, these, and vitamins and herbal remedies may be sufficient. These medications can make life more bearable during your illness.

As the flu is a viral infection, it will not respond to any antibiotic.

Antibiotics are only effective in treating secondary bacterial infections sometimes associated with influenza.


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Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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