• Cough medicines containing dextromethorphan

Cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (Photo : Getty Images/Scott Olson)

Doctors have warned that hacking cough has affected thousands of patients this winter and it cannot just be cured by taking antibiotics.

Health experts in Wales have released a public message warning patients to stay away from their GP surgery, Independent reported.  This lingering illness has been caught by so many people and can even last for several weeks.

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Medical professionals stressed that it is becoming more and more difficult to cope with extra pressure of more patients coming through hospital doors when there is very little that doctors can do since antibiotics have no effect on these viruses. Instead of visiting GPs, patients are advised to take rest and plenty of fluids.

Cardiff GP Dr. Anna Kuczynska told Wales Online, "We know there is a particularly nasty, persistent cough in the community that lasts a number of weeks and is leading a lot of people to attend their GP surgery.

"Unfortunately, in most cases, unless the patient has another underlying chronic condition for example, heart or lung disease or diabetes, there is often nothing the GP can do to help other than recommend resting and drinking plenty of fluids," she added.

Kuczynska said that antibiotics are still not going to be helpful even for the most normally healthy people. And that if symptoms are observed like blood and if it has been going on for weeks, patients should already get advice.

According to Chief Medical officer Dr. Frank Alerton, requesting unnecessary help from a GP for cough or cold could take valuable appointments away from those who are really in need.

GP Steve Bassett said that the only cures at the moment would be plenty of rest and fluids and keeping one's self warm. He added that even if the patient is producing green phlegm, then there is no need for the patient to be seen especially when he is able to eat and drink normally.

"Coughs and colds simply have to run their course. There isn't any prescribed medication which can shorten or cure them, and that includes antibiotics which are not effective on viruses, and are more likely to cause you problematic side effects." He added.