Antibiotics are drugs that fight bacterial infections by killing the bacteria themselves or preventing their proliferation. But, it is good to use them in a careful and aware manner, in order to make them effective and not help to develop antibiotic resistance.
- Take antibiotics only when prescribed by your doctor. Antibiotics can only be purchased at the pharmacy by presenting a prescription. These drugs are not in fact medicines and self-medication can not be used at its discretion. Your doctor will decide if you need antibiotics or not and prescribe them.
- Do not take unused antibiotics from previous treatments . After the completion of antibiotic therapy, it is good to dispose of the containers and the rest of the drug. Antibiotics should not be preserved.
- Taking antibiotics can have side effects. Diarrhea, nausea and rashes are among the most common side effects of antibiotics. In order to not unnecessarily burden your health, it is good to take antibiotics only when indicated by the doctor.
- Not all bacterial infections need antibiotics. In many cases, mild bacterial infections such as sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, or otitis, have no need of antibiotic therapy. The immune system is in fact able to combat them alone, therefore making antibiotics unnecessary.
- Antibiotics are not painkillers and do not serve against colds and flu. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and can do nothing in the case of viral infections. A cold or a flu is a viral infection. 80% of winter pathologies involving the nose, ears, and throat are indeed viral.
Self-medication against colds
Colds can be quite annoying and affect the performance of normal daily activities. Some over the counter medications can help relieve the symptoms. It is good to seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist to find the most appropriate medication according to major symptoms. These may be of help:
- Antipyretic to reduce fever and combat pain and discomfort.
- Anti-inflammatory, such as sprays or throat lozenges can reduce burning and help with swallowing.
- Oral expectorant, to free airway secretions.
- Nasal sprays and decongestants, to free the airway and breathe better.