To my Adult Patient:
Today I have diagnosed you with an upper respiratory infection or bronchitis. Almost all upper respiratory infections and bronchitis’ are caused by viral infections. These viral infections cause irritation to your nose, throat, vocal chords and the upper parts of your lungs. You told me about your fever, your chills, your muscle aches, your cough, your sore throat, runny nose and the mucous you are coughing up. I understand that you feel like the cat drug you in. I understand that you can’t miss work. I understand that your family depends on you. I understand that this is not a good time for you to be ill. I even understand that you may be traveling for vacation or business and that tomorrow may be a holiday.
Please read the second sentence above. Look at the word viral. This means that your infection is caused by a virus.
A virus is a very small particle that can only reproduce inside another living cell. The viruses that cause your condition actually infect the cells of your nose, throat, vocal chords and lungs and cause irritation. They make the area red, irritated, painful and produce mucous. This mucous can even be yellow or green (purulent). You can cough, wheeze, loose your voice and generally feel miserable. Unfortunately the average upper respiratory infection can lasts 7 to 21 days and the cough and irritation in your lungs can last up to six weeks.
Viruses cannot be treated by antibiotics. Antibiotics only treat bacteria.
I want you to feel better.
I wish I had a pill that could make you all better by tomorrow.
Unfortunately, these viruses must be fought by your body. Over the counter medications and some prescription medications may help with your symptoms. I cannot cure your condition. I explained this to you today. I explained that antibiotics will not help. I explained that antibiotics may cause diarrhea, yeast infections, stomach upset, allergic reactions or even serious bowel infections. I explained that you will feel better in 1-3 weeks and that you may cough for up to 6 weeks.
Please don’t insist that I give you an antibiotic.
Please don’t call me in 2 days and insist that I give you an antibiotic.
If you feel worse, or your fever rises give me a call. If you get short of breath or vomit when you cough let me know. If your throat is so sore or swollen that you are having trouble swallowing let me know. Please don’t get upset if I want to see you again. Please don’t get upset if I don’t just call in a prescription for an antibiotic. I want to do what is best for you. I want you to feel better. I care about you.
Your Primary Care Provider