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Z-Pak or no Z-Pak? That is the question!

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Common cold got you down? Are you sneezing and blowing your nose day and night? Are your coworkers and family sick, and now it seems like it’s finally your turn? You might be thinking of going to the clinic for azithromycin (Z-Pak) to cure your ills, but that might not be such a good idea.

Z-Pak Antibiotics – Not for the Common Cold

Azithromycin is an antibiotic, which means it is used to treat bacterial infections only, not viral infections. The majority of colds and coughs are caused by viruses, so taking a Z Pak for cold symptoms won’t work. You could suspect a bacterial infection if a fever recurs after the first few days, in which case a Z-Pak would likely help with resistance to the virus. Cat got your tongue and sore throat is the problem? A clinical throat culture will need to be done to assess the pathogen, which usually presents itself as a viral infection. In this case, rest, warm tea, and/or gargling with warm salt water (which reduces inflammation) can help these symptoms. Also, over-the-counter products can help with the sneezing, runny nose, and cough. Be sure to ask for a recommendation from your pharmacist since certain conditions such as high blood pressure may be affected by over-the-counter medications and cause unwanted interactions.

Compare Your Azithromycin Z-Pak Copay with WellRxIf your cold persists for longer than usual and you end up with green discharge from the nose or severe persistent cough after the cold is gone, then it may be time to see your healthcare provider for further treatment of your condition.

Got that bacterial infection after all and have a Z-Pak in hand? Here are some helpful tips:

  • Z-Paks come as six 250 mg tablets in a package. Take 2 tablets by mouth on the first day and 1 tablet by mouth for each of the following 4 days. Do your best to evenly space the doses every 24 hours for the greatest benefits.
  • As with any antibiotic, common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain and vomiting.
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have a history of liver problems are allergic to any medications, have poor kidney function, or are pregnant or breast feeding.
  • In some cases, this drug may cause a fast or irregular heartbeat. If this happens, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • As with any medication, if you forget or lose a dose, take it as soon as you remember and never double up!

References:

  1. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=2089
  2. http://www.healthline.com/drugs/azithromycin/oral-tablet#Highlights1
  3. http://www.healthline.com/drugs/azithromycin/oral-tablet#Highlights1

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