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He is loopy and can't process any direction when he gets sick don't want him to have antibiotics.

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Colds are a viral infection so giving antibiotics will not prevent a bacterial infection should that occur. If you can't afford a Dr visit you can call and talk to his nurse requesting instructions. many hospitals have nurse help lines ready to give advice
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No matter what you do--or don't do--there is risk. If you don't give them antibiotics a cold can easily turn into pneumonia. If you do give them antibiotics for the first signs of cold that can cause resistance and there is the possibility of getting c. diff diarrhea. I think a lot of elderly get more confused with a cold because of body aches and they can't communicate that. Maybe giving them tylenol every 8 hours may help...but even tyenol has risks but so does wandering and falling due to body aches. No..nothing you can do is safe.  I get pretty bad body aches when I catch a cold so imagine how an elderly person feels. 
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Everyone gets colds and is at risk of the flu and have their own deeply ingrained ideas of the right treatment and preventive measures so I will leave it at that. What I will say is educate yourself and read the labels so you don't overdose on things like Tylenol, Asprin Advil etc and beware that combination narcotics such as Vicodin also contain Tylenol so be aware of the max daily dose allowed. Overuse of antibiotics is known to cause resistance so again caution is essential.
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ferris1 the Z Pack has had major warnings now due to causing heart problems, please do a search on it and read them all.
veronica, my Mom never had pneumonia hence the quick treatment of antibiotics if she shows any signs of a cold. So far so good!
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Along with the chicken soup, TLC, gargling with salt water, and lots of fluids as mentioned above, we use saline nasal spray. Basically it is salt water which helps to dry up the nasal drip. No other medication is in the nasal spray.
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Yes, my husband has a standing order for a Z-pack to take so he won't get pneumonia. And the FDA has put a warning on Tylenol which is all acetaminophen over-the-counter meds (includes Excedrin & Advil) warning of liver damage, especially in the elderly. You too can subscribe to the FDA.gov website.
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If she has a history of colds becoming pneumonia that can be a perfectly reasonable treatment
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I know antibiotics dont cure a cold but if my Mom gets one she is put on amoxicillin right away to avoid pneumonia from settling in. Good Luck!
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Flu vaccines are not good for the elderly no matter what the doctor says, okay? If taken long enough, they can cause all kinds of permanent damage to the body. Also Tylenol causes liver failure even though the FDA refuses to put a black box warning on the label. What I have discovered is that MOST if not ALL prescribed drugs severely weaken the immune system and it is the immune system that is really responsible for improving health. Nourish the immune system with the proper foods and supplements and you will not have to depend on toxic drugs.
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Call the MD, he may want to hold some medications. Antibiotics won't help the common cold. If he has high blood pressure, ask the pharmacist what cold meds are safe with the meds he is on. Remember: Feed a cold, starve a fever. Vitamin C with zinc comes in liquids or chews, give him some. Chicken soup is always good especially homemade with carrots/onion/celery.
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If he is taking other medications and you want to give him something to soothe a cough or sore throat check with his pharmacist to make sure it won't react with any prescription meds he is taking. if he starts to cough up green or bloody sputum he should be seen by a Dr ASAP. If you use any herbal supliments be sure they also do not adversely interact with prescription meds. Tylenol can be given to reduce a fever. honey and lemon in hot water is very soothing to the throat. Inhaling the steam from a bowl of hot water helps with congestion. Make sure dad is up to date with his flu and pneumonia shots. he only needs the pneumonia every ten years but the flu is annual A simple cold can turn into a very serious illness in the frail elderly.
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There is no medication that will cure a cold. Do not give him anything with an antihistamine in it as it blocks acetylecholine which he needs to have (it is a neurotransmitter in the brain). Lots of hot chicken soup has great research behind it, lots of sleep and wait. Seven to ten days is the typical duration. Antibiotics will not help a virus, but if he has a sinus infection that would. Talk to his doctor. Stay well and get a flu vaccine.
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I agree with alot of previous answers. One point I do need to add and not to scare you, that you have to keep watch for any change of behavior. If you find you dad behavior change liked he may think his mom/dad alive etc, thats the sign of dehydration and infection such as pneumomia. He must go to hospital immediatly or speak to his doctor right away. Plently of fluids is best to treat his cold and by the end of the week, he will be good as new.
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I swear by Emergencee, a high dose of various vitamins in packets when added to water fizzes. It has worked on three of us and seriously shortened the length of a cold.
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My mother's blood pressure is dong a lot better than it was while she was on HBP pills (mostly beta blockers). It is much lower and more stable. Even her lab work is better now that she takes NO toxic prescription drugs. You have to remember that the US medical system is the THIRD leading cause of death (Starfield Study, JAMA, 2000) and that over 100,000 people die every year due to taking drugs as prescribed by their doctors. This is what I keep in mind at all times and this is why it is so easy for me to question and distrust all prescribed drugs.
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I understand kona's view - before now I have torn my hair out in front of our family doctor and pleaded with him JUST ONCE can we have a remedy that doesn't create more problems than it solves? And we're lucky to have an excellent doctor, one who takes the time to explain and to sympathise, and who doesn't tinker lightly with my mother's fragile mechanisms.

But, kona, how's your mother's blood pressure now? What I'm getting at is: yes, the home environment is much safer when it comes to avoiding infection; yes, we know and care more about our relatives than professionals ever can; and yes we're free to disagree with professional advice - but be very careful before you act against it. Don't let the NH's lousy communication skills lead you to distrust all conventional medicine.
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Most elderly people suffer from dehydration. As Eddie says above, plenty of fluids is always good for colds. Also a number of supplements like Vitamin C help. But in order for all of these natural remedies to work, you need to check to see that any drugs that your dad is taking may not be contributing to the problem. When my mom was on HBP pills, she developed a very serious sounding cough. We thought it was a cold but the nursing home that she was in (she no longer is there, we took her home) kept ignoring our concerns. We later found out that they kept ignoring our concerns because they knew that the HBP pills were the cause of her cough. Once we had our mom home and stopped all of her drugs and switched her to a number of supplements including supplements to improve her immune system, etc, the coughing cleared up and she doesn't catch colds anymore.
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Antibiotics aren't effective for colds as they are caused by viruses. Lots of fluids. Warm broths. Gargle with salt water if his throat is sore.
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Homemade chicken soup, creamy soups and broths, plenty of fluids, and an extra dose of love. I'm not a doctor, but you know what they say about colds: "Treat it, it lasts 7 days. Leave it alone, it lasts a week." More pills aren't the best answer, but you can treat the symptoms with natural remedies that are right in your own home.
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