Get Smart Know About Antibiotics: Know When They Will Work

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  • Cold/Runny Nose: Usually caused by viruses. Antibiotic not needed.
  • Bronchitis/Chest Cold: Usually caused by viruses. Antibiotic not needed.
  • Whooping Cough: Usually caused by bacteria. Antibiotic needed.
  • Flu: Usually caused by viruses. Antibiotic not needed.
  • Strep Throat: Usually caused by bacteria. Antibiotic needed.
  • Sore Throat (except strep): Usually caused by viruses. Antibiotic not needed.
  • Fluid in the Middle Ear (otitis media with effusion): Usually caused by viruses. Antibiotic not needed.
  • Urinary Tract Infection: Usually caused by bacteria. Antibiotic needed.

Antibiotic use is the leading cause of antibiotic resistance. Up to one-third to one-half of antibiotic use in humans is either unnecessary or inappropriate. Each year in the United States, 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are written in doctor’s offices, emergency rooms, and hospital-based clinics, which makes improving antibiotic prescribing and use a national priority.

What You Can Do

Just because your healthcare professional doesn’t give you an antibiotic doesn’t mean you aren’t sick. Talk with your healthcare professional about the best treatment for your or your child’s illness.

To feel better when you or your child has a viral infection:

  • Ask your healthcare professional about over-the-counter treatment options that may help reduce symptoms.
  • Drink more fluids.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion.
  • Soothe your throat with crushed ice, sore throat spray, or lozenges. (Do not give lozenges to young children.)
  • Use honey to relieve cough. (Do not give honey to an infant under one year of age.)
  • If you are diagnosed with the flu, there are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness. They are prescription drugs.getsmart_logo_125px

For more informtaion:  http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/week