Newsplex - Martha Jefferson HealthWise - Headlines

Martha Jefferson Healthwise: When to Get Antibiotics

Dec. 11, 2013

If you're coughing, sneezing or have a sore throat, you're not alone.

But how do you know if you need to go to the doctor and get an antibiotic?

Dr. Margo Gill of Forest Lakes Family Medicine says it all depends on whether your illness is viral or bacterial.

"A lot of times people come in with a common cold or a virus and those viruses can appear in the body in many different ways. Most people come in with coughs, runny nose, mild sore throats. The biggest complaint that they have is that it just won’t go away. They don't have fevers. There's no specific place where the infection has set in. Those are almost always caused by a viruses," said Dr. Gill.

If your sickness is caused by a virus, she says your best bet is to try an over the counter medicine. However, if a doctor finds that an infection has set in one specific area like the ears, throat or lungs, it's most likely a bacterial infection and needs to be treated with an antibiotic.

Dr. Gill says people with a chronic illness, diabetes, or someone who's prone to infection may also need an antibiotic if they get sick.

She adds that if you start to feel sick, the best thing you can do is get lots of vitamin C, zinc or Cold-eeze.

The comments sections of are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to


powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 235424561