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What You Can Do

When you use antibiotics appropriately, you do the best for your health, your family’s health, and the health of those around you. Here are tips for how to use antibiotics wisely.

What to Do

  • Ask your healthcare professional about what you can do stop or slow antibiotic resistance.
    • Let them know you are concerned about this issue.
  • Ask your healthcare professional if there are steps you can take to feel better and get relief from your symptoms without using antibiotics.
    • Sometimes the best treatment for your illness may be relieving your symptoms, not an antibiotic.
  • Take the prescribed antibiotic exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
    • If taken improperly, antibiotics are more likely to cause harm.
  • Safely discard any leftover medication.
  • Ask your healthcare professional about vaccines recommended for you and your family.
    • Vaccines are an effective way to prevent infections that may require an antibiotic.
    • Vaccines are also an important way to keep diseases from spreading.

What Not to Do

  • Never take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or the flu. Antibiotics do NOT cure viral infections such as:
    • Colds
    • Flu
    • Most sore throats
    • Most coughs and bronchitis (“chest colds”)
    • Many sinus infections
    • Many ear infections
  • Never pressure your healthcare professional to prescribe an antibiotic.
  • Never skip doses.
  • Never save antibiotics for the next time you become sick and do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.
    • Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment, allow bacteria to multiply, and cause unwanted or severe side effects. Discard any leftover medication.

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