Though you can come down with cold symptoms any time of the year, illnesses seem to thrive between November and March. Usually, a simple cold will go away with fluids, sleep, and rest, but other illnesses require special antibiotics. However, antibiotics won’t cure everything, especially if you have a cold or come down with the flu.
In these cases, antibiotics can actually hurt you more than they help. This is because antibiotics only fight bacterial infections. Cold and flu infections are viral. If you take antibiotics for a cold or flu, those antibiotics are only killing sensitive bacteria. Other, more resistant germs may survive and multiply. These can cause severe infections and hospitalizations and are especially dangerous for older adults.
1. Make sure you’re taking antibiotics that your doctor has prescribed or approved. This can help you ensure it will treat your infection.
2. Take antibiotics only for bacterial infections. Also, follow your doctor’s recommendations when you’re on antibiotics. Don’t take them longer than you need them, but be sure to take the full dose. This will ensure the resistant germs don’t multiply AND that the bacteria causing your illness is all gone.
3. Don’t take antibiotics for viral infections like coughs, cold, or influenza. Unfortunately, these won’t make you feel any better or cure a viral infection.
Even though antibiotics won’t help you if you catch a virus, you can still take preventative measures against illness during cold and flu season. Medicare covers a yearly flu shot. Be sure to get yours from your doctor or local pharmacy, just make sure they take Medicare first!
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