Taking or prescribing antibiotics should be considered with caution — they aren’t always the answer.
Richelle Guerrero-Wooley, MD, an infectious disease physician at Loma Linda University Health, provides these points to remember:
Protect yourself and others through prevention techniques to reduce the spread of viruses
- Wash hands regularly.
- Wear a mask.
- Get the flu shot every year.
- If you are experiencing fever, sore throat, or cough, stay home and self-quarantine.
Using antibiotics wisely is the best way to preserve their potency for future bacterial infections
- Unnecessary use of antibiotics lessens their effectiveness.
- Prescribe and use responsibly to ensure future generations’ access to antibiotics.
Antibiotics only treat certain bacterial infections
- The common cold and flu are caused by viruses. Antibiotics will not help.
- Not all cases of ear infection and sore throat require antibiotics. (And the color of mucus is not an indicator.) Speak with your physician.
- Your physician may be able to run tests to make a determination.
To help relieve a viral infection such as a cold or the flu:
- Target symptom relief while the illness naturally runs its course.
- Speak with a doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Antibiotics, like all medications, may create side effects
- Complications can range from diarrhea to a serious allergic reaction.
- One in five medication-related visits to an ER are due to adverse antibiotic reactions.
If interested in reading more, turn to reliable sources like the CDC’s Be Antibiotics Aware website. To learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and your family during the flu season, visit our flu page at lluh.org/flu.