Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. This condition occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. Widespread overuse of antibiotics is fueling an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. So the next time you really need an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, it may not work.
If You Have a Cold or Flu, Antibiotics Won’t Work for You
Colds and flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. Get smart about when antibiotics are appropriate. Taking them for viral infections, such as a cold, cough, the flu, or acute bronchitis:
* Will not cure the infection;
* Will not keep other people from getting sick;
* Will not help you feel better; and
* May cause unnecessary and harmful side effects.
What Not To Do
* Do not demand antibiotics when a healthcare provider says they are not needed. They will not help treat your infection.
* Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold, a cough, or the flu.
* Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. The antibiotic may not be appropriate for your illness. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.
* If your healthcare provider prescribes an antibiotic for you:
o Do not skip doses.
o Do not save any of the antibiotics for the next time you get sick.
What To Do
Talk with your healthcare provider about the best treatment for your illness. To feel better when you have an upper respiratory infection and antibiotics are not needed:
* Increase fluid intake;
* Get plenty of rest;
* Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion; and
* Soothe your throat with ice chips, sore throat spray, or lozenges (do not give lozenges to young children).
Also, make sure you properly dispose of leftover and expired antibiotics. Clean your hands often, especially before meals and after touching pets. And make sure both you and your child are up-to-date on your recommended immunizations.
Information courtesy of CDC.gov