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Antibiotics: Key Practices for Safe and Effective Use

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Remember, antibiotics are not always the solution when you’re sick. Common sinus and some ear infections do not require antibiotics. Antibiotics should only be used for severe bacterial infections like whooping cough, pneumonia, and strep throat. Some bacterial infections can improve without antibiotics. It’s important to know that antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. Viruses are different from bacteria, and antibiotics can’t treat viral infections, such as colds, runny noses, most sore throats (except strep throat), flu, and most cases of bronchitis. Using antibiotics for a viral infection won’t make you feel better. Use antibiotics correctly for the best treatment of your illness, minimize side effects, and fight against antimicrobial resistance.


Five home remedies that can help fight off infections: 

  1. Drinking plenty of water, herbal teas, and broths can help flush out toxins and support your immune system.  
  2. Honey and Ginger – Honey has natural antibacterial properties and can soothe a sore throat. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and can help with nausea and overall immunity. A warm drink with honey, ginger, and lemon can benefit.
  3. Raw or cooked garlic can help fight infections due to its antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties.
  4. Foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, kale, and kiwifruit, may help increase white blood cell production, which is vital for fighting infection.
  5. Fermented foods: Unpasteurized cabbage, homemade pickles, and probiotic yogurts can help fight bacteria and cancer-prone cells.

Six things to practice when Taking Antibiotics

  1. Complete the Course:
    • Always finish the entire prescribed course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better before it’s finished.
  2. Take as Prescribed:
    • Follow your doctor’s dosage instructions, including how many times a day and how long you should take the medicine.
  3. Be Aware of Side Effects:
    • Know the possible side effects of your antibiotics and inform your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms, such as severe diarrhea or allergic reactions.
  4. Antibiotic Resistance:
    • Using antibiotics too often or incorrectly can make bacteria stronger and more challenging to kill. This means infections can last longer, need more medical care, and can even be life-threatening.
  5. Watch for Drug Interactions:
    • Inform your doctor about all other medications and supplements to avoid harmful interactions.
  6. Monitor Gut Health:
    • Antibiotics can upset the balance of good bacteria in your stomach, which can cause stomach problems or make you more likely to get other infections. Sometimes, taking probiotics or certain foods can help keep your stomach healthy.

 Seven things to avoid when taking antibiotics:

  1. Skipping Doses:
    • Follow prescribed instructions. Missing doses can make your treatment less effective.
  2. Stopping Treatment Early:
    • Even if you start feeling better, you should complete the antibiotics. Stopping early can allow the infection to return and may contribute to resistance.
  3. Mixing with Alcohol:
    • Drinking alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of some antibiotics and increase the risk of side effects like stomach upset, dizziness, and drowsiness. Take medicines with water.
  4. Taking with Certain Foods:
    • Some antibiotics should not be taken with specific foods or drinks, such as dairy products or fruit juices. High-acid foods like citrus fruits and juices (e.g., orange and grapefruit), soda, chocolate, and tomato products can decrease the amount of medicine absorbed into your system for certain antibiotics. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist. 
  5. Using Other Medications Without Checking:
    • Antibiotics can interact with other medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Always inform your healthcare provider about any other medications to avoid harmful interactions.
  6. Don’t Share Medications:
    • Never share your antibiotics with others or use someone else’s antibiotics. This can be dangerous and ineffective.
  7. Avoid Self-Prescribing:
    • Don’t use leftover antibiotics or take antibiotics without a prescription from a healthcare professional. This can lead to improper treatment and resistance.

Regular exercise and getting enough quality sleep can boost your immune system and help you recover more quickly from illness.

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