It’s therefore natural to think of antibiotic therapy as the natural opposite of steroids, and this has some truth to it. In the case of infection — which, remember, is not the only cause of inflammation — steroids do inhibit the immune response. But bear in mind that antibiotics do not, as a general rule, actually support or promote the body’s inflammatory response; rather, they work independently by attacking the infection directly along their own pathways. The result is that some pathologies (such as the contentious cases of sepsis and epiglottitis) may respond both to steroids — to manage the excessive inflammatory response — and antibiotics — to help eliminate the source infection.
Treatment of viral fever is purely symptomatic with antipyretic and analgesic
drugs. Bed rest and adequate fluid intake is advised. Nasal decongestants
may be beneficial. Specific antiviral therapy is not routinely recommended.
Steroids are not advised as it may lead to bacterial super-infection. Only in
cases of super-infection do antibiotics need to be prescribed. It is important
that antibiotics are NOT routinely used for prophylaxis.
Complications of viral infections like pneumonia (viral or super-infection by
bacteria) need to be addressed specifically by clearance of respiratory
secretions and utilising ventilator assistance if hypoxia is severe. Symptoms
of gastroenteritis should be managed with anti-motility agents.
Most viral fevers recover completely in a week although fatigue may persist
for a few weeks.
Viral fevers are difficult to prevent. They occur as epidemics of infection depending on their mode of spread. Vaccines have been tried targeting the respiratory and gastrointestinal viruses with little success due to several sub-groups of viruses with different forms of antigenicity, all of which cannot be covered with a single vaccine. Fortunately since most infections are mild and self-limited, we can be assured of a full recovery.
Source Dr. MBBS, MD, MRCP.
is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and heads the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute More about Dr Ramasubramaniam.