We all get common colds and flu from time to time. Most people know these are viruses and cannot be treated with anything but rest. But then why does your doctor sometimes prescribe antibiotics, which are used to fight a bacterial infection? Here’s your answer.

The clue is in the mucus

When you go to your doctor with a cold or the ‘flu, he or she will usually ask if your mucus is clear or thick and discolored. If you just have a runny nose with clear mucus, you are probably only suffering from a virus, which your immune system should flush out in three to four days. If your mucus is thick and yellow or brown, this is the tell-tale sign that the virus has weakened your immune system and allowed a bacterial infection to develop. A bacterial infection, such as pneumonia, attacks the sinuses, throat and lungs, causes the mucus to become thick and dark and can last a few days or even several weeks.

Give your immune system the chance to fight

Being attacked by one or more viruses can take its toll on your immune system, which allows bacteria already present in the body to spread, typically to the throat and chest. When your immune system is weak, the risk of succumbing to a bacterial infection is much higher, so it is best to stay at home and take it easy to give your body the best chance of fending off the attack. In most cases, a healthy body is perfectly able to fight off a virus and no treatment is required, but once a bacterial infection develops, especially in the elderly and infirm, treatment is required as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

Get the first signs of a bacterial infection and get treatment fast

While the best cure for a viral infection is rest and relaxation, a bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. The sooner the doctor identifies the first signs of a bacterial infection, the more effective the treatment will be and the sooner you will be back on your feet. The mucus test is only one way to identify a bacterial infection, and by that stage the symptoms may be quite advanced. But there is a better way. The MAP Health Watch is able to monitor changes in skin temperature, electrodermal activity and heart rate with the help of sophisticated algorithms to quickly to detect the first signs of a bacterial infection. If the patient starts to sweat and his or her skin temperature rises without evidence of physical activity, the MAP Health Watcher team will call and alert the wearer that it is time to pay the doctor a visit to mitigate the effects. The doctor will in turn be able to see the data and prescribe a course of antibiotics to stop the bacterial infection in its tracks.