A common scenario in my clinical practice is treating patients for viral and bacterial infections. These often present as the common "viral" cold or the more deep rooted "bacterial" chest infection. Many times the patient has taken one or even two rounds of antibiotics and it has failed to resolve their symptoms. Personally I feel as though in these particular circumstances antibiotics are overprescribed and that the patient is often doing more damage to their health than they are aware of.
The two main reasons are:
1) The prescribed antibiotics are not always suitable for the patient's particular infection. Not only may the strain of bacterial infection be different to that which the antibiotic is targeting but there are also an increasing amount of antibiotic resistant "superbugs" such as Staphylococcus aureus.
2) The antibiotics are causing significant damage to the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. This has huge repercussions on a patients overall health as it can significantly compromise digestive and immune function. Many patients I speak to don't realise that the strength of their immune system is intimately connected to the amount of 'good' bacteria in their digestive tract.
In my experience it is quite common for a cold and or minor bacterial infection to resolve in 1-2 weeks regardless of antibiotic intervention. Whilst more serious infections may require the use of antibiotics at times (particularly if someone is severely immuno-compromised due to chronic disease) I feel as though overall we are too quick to rush into the use of antibiotics.
I have seen a number of clients now who's health has been significantly worsened through the overuse of antibiotics, often developing digestive disturbances, fatigue and an overall sense of not feeling quite right.
I would encourage you next time the symptoms of a cold start developing to visit Open Heart Wellness or your local Chinese Medicine practitioner and hit the bug on the head before it gets too bad. The use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is a very safe and effective way to treat these kinds of conditions, and without the nasty side effects.
For a broader and more detailed exposition on the subject you can check out a great article buy Jake Paul Fratkin which I have cited below.
Fratkin, J. 'Getting off the Antibiotic Merry-Go-Round' 2005, n.p. http://drjakefratkin.com/articles/getting-off-the-antibiotic-merry-go-round