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Protecting Yourself

physician examining a babyWhat can you do to protect yourself and your family:

  • Use antibiotics only when your doctor prescribes them.
  • Don't share antibiotics with family members.
  • When an antibiotic is prescribed, complete the entire prescription.

The unnecessary use of antibiotics can be harmful, since it promotes the development of drug-resistant bacteria.

What you should know about using Antibiotics...

Antibiotics are lifesaving drugs, but they are not always the answer.

Antibiotics have been one of the most important medicines in the war against disease in the last fifty years. The proper use of antibiotics has protected us against infections and illnesses, such as tuberculosis, which in years past caused death and suffering. However, antibiotics are not always the answer.

Bacteria and Viruses

Two types of germs, bacteria and viruses, are the main cause of infections. Viruses cause most coughs, colds and sore throats.

  • Antibiotics do not have any effect against illnesses caused by a virus.
  • Only illnesses caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics.

Drug-resistant Bacteria

When we take an antibiotic, the first doses kill off the weaker bacteria, and we begin to feel better. The stronger bacteria continue to survive. If we stop taking the antibiotic before the prescription is finished, the remaining bacteria multiply and become resistant to the antibiotic.

These resistant bacteria can be transmitted to other family members and the community.

If a person is infected with drug-resistant bacteria, he or she may need to be treated with a stronger antibiotic.

What can you do if you child is sick?

Your child has a fever, aches, a sore throat and is very tired. Most likely, your child has the flu or a bad cold. We all know there isn’t a cure for either one. So, we need to do things to make our children feel better and fight off the virus that is making them sick.

Your child does not need an antibiotic. Antibiotics don’t cure colds and the flu. We shouldn’t take medicines we don’t need.

So, what can you do to make your child feel better?

  • Make sure your child gets plenty of rest.
  • Give extra water, juices and soups.
  • Popsicles, juice bars and herbal teas help sore throats feel better. If you have an older child [12 or older], throat lozenges can also make their sore throat feel better.
  • Keep your child away from cigarette smoke.

Give your child medicine from the store [over-the-counter medicines]. Your doctor can tell you which medicine to buy for aches and pains and other discomforts. Do not give your child aspirin!

Read how to give the medicine and do what it says. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about how to help your child feel better.

Give your child the right drug for the right bug! And remember to give lots of tender loving care.

DO'S and DON'TS of antibiotics

  • DO take the antibiotic exactly as indicated on the container
  • DO finish the prescription even if you begin to feel better
  • DON'T demand antibiotics when your health care provider says they are not needed
  • DON'T skip doses
  • DON'T share the prescription with anyone else
  • DON'T save the prescription for a later time