Antibiotics – You Don’t Always Need Them

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is recognizing U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 13-19, 2017, to help decrease the misuse of antibiotics and protect people from the dangers of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Antibiotics do not cure viral infections such as colds, flu, most sore throats, most coughs and bronchitis, many sinus infections, and many ear infections. According to the CDC, each year in the United States at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. This November, Illinois’ program is expanding its focus to dentists, who comprise the fourth-highest antibiotic prescribing group in the United States. How you can help prevent antibiotic resistance:

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

  • Do not ask for antibiotics when your health care provider thinks you do not need them. Antibiotics don’t cure all diseases. They also have side effects, and may do more harm than good.
  • Do not share or use leftover antibiotics; only take antibiotics prescribed for you.
  • Do not save antibiotics for future illnesses. Talk to your pharmacist about safely discarding leftover medicines.
  • Do ask your health care provider if there are other steps you can take to feel better without using an antibiotic. Sometimes the best treatment may be relieving your symptoms.
  • Do take antibiotics exactly as your health care provider prescribes. Do not skip doses or stop taking the course of antibiotics prescribed to you, even if you start to feel better.
  • Do stay up to date on your recommended vaccines. Vaccines help prevent infections and keep diseases from spreading.
  • Do wash your hands regularly. Cleaning your hands helps stop the spread of disease and protect yourself from illness.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a common cold and a bacterial infection. Check with a health care professional if:

  • Symptoms last more than 10 days without improvement
  • Symptoms are severe or unusual
  • A child younger than three month has a fever

Comments are closed.