My mom (91) now has a horrible cough. I called the doctor & asked if I should give her an antibiotic, he said it was up to me. Recommendations? - AgingCare.com

My mom (91) now has a horrible cough. I called the doctor & asked if I should give her an antibiotic, he said it was up to me. Recommendations?

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I came home from school with a horrible cough. My 91 year old mom now has it. Dr. said antibiotic was up to me. I am worried about her having or getting pneumonia. He said if it was viral it would just run its course & I should give liquids. He prescribed Azithromycin in case it was bacterial, BUT he didn't know if I should give it to her & it was up to me. She had a fever the first night 100.5 & I gave her regular Tylenol, but she hasn't had a fever since. She seems alright except for this cough that could be bronchitis & she seems to have a lot of mucous. I read the printout on the antibiotic and it mentions that people with heart problems shouldn't take it. She has had AFIB, high blood pressure, and a thickening of the Aortic wall? I tried the antibiotic first since we both must have the same bug. I had diarrhea for two days & don't feel much better, but exhausted. I still have a cough, but not as violent. I have had this for about 9 days. The antibiotic you take for 5 days with 2 the first day and I have 2 more to go. I don't want her to have to go through it if it doesn't do any good. I also don't want her cough to turn into pneumonia since she is bed bound. She doesn't want to go to the emergency room. I could call the doctor again since I doubt that he remembered anything about her heart, but he usually says that she is a puzzle & it's hard to figure. She doesn't seem to be in any distress EXCEPT when she has these coughing spells which was twice last night and twice today. Any recommendations? Thanks!

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It's the "you can try it if you want" attitude that has got us into this mess with antibiotic resistant bacteria. To be fair to older docs, years ago we didn't know any better, but now we do.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to cwillie
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You have had this nasty virus with its lingering after-effects for about nine days.

What about your mother? How long has she had it?

She had a slight fever which was easily treated with standard over the counter remedies and has not returned.

She seems otherwise all right.

You are quite rightly concerned that her comparative immobility makes her more vulnerable to secondary infections. But apart from the daily coughing spells, which don't sound too dramatic?, you don't see any other signs of illness? Is anything at all happening which you would not expect to happen if she were recovering from a viral upper respiratory tract infection?

I must admit. I am struggling for words over the doctor's telling you this was your decision.

WHOSE PATIENT IS THIS???

For him to px a pretty glamorous antibiotic for you to administer "just in case", and not give you extremely clear guidelines about how to decide if this was a case in point, and - has he listened to her chest? What examinations has he carried out?

To be honest, I'd be looking for a better doctor.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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If you took the first two doses of her Zpack then you should get a new prescription for her or you, and you should finish the Zpack.
Antibiotics given orally do not work over night. Zpack specifically gives a higher dose for dose 1, with the rest then taken as directed.
You shouldn’t “try” the antibiotics “first”. What if you had a reaction/allergy to that medication that was not prescribed for you?
If the doctor prescribing the ABX for grandma gets wind of it you may jeopardize his willingness to continue to treat her.
I suggest you follow the doctor’s orders. If it’s viral abx won’t help her. I agree to monitor and treat as he recommended.
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Reply to Shane1124
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I want to be very careful about what I recommend since I am just a nurse and not even your mother's physician knows for sure if she should take it. But I will say we do give antibiotics to people of all ages here at the hospital and they typically do more good than bad. But of course the doctors are the ones who prescribe it before we give it and it is a more controlled environment so we can quickly intervene if anything goes wrong.

I will say though, and you may already know this, but if you start giving her antibiotics, you have to give her the full amount even if she starts feeling better. I've made the mistake myself of not finishing mine and got twice as sick afterwards. If you don't get rid of the bacteria completely, it comes back even stronger.
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Reply to Caregiverology
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I cant really give any good advice about medical care.
but my mom had pneumonia in January. she lives in AL and other residents were getting sick too.
she didn't really have any symptoms. she started feeling ill (dizzy, nauseated, hot)one minute and the next feel better. this went on for about 5 days. until one day symptoms returned and her blood pressure went sky high! plus a high temp

we took her to urgent care. and she was dx with pneumonia. I just had no clue!
we were stuck there for many hours. they would not admit her to hospital. Just returned 2 more times to urgent care for antibiotics and fluids.

one of the med techs back at moms AL told me that elderly people sometimes do not show symptoms of pneumonia, can be very sick and not seem to be. its not til they are very sick and fall that they end up at ER
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to wally003
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