It's every mother's mantra: Cover your mouth when you cough. During flu season, it's the best advice you can give any child -- or adult - who wants to avoid the flu.
The flu virus is passed from one person to the other through fluids from mouth and nose secretions. When we cough and sneeze, those droplets go into the air.
"It's our responsibility to cover mouth and nose so those droplets don't go into the air... so they don't spread to other people," says James Mamary, MD, a pulmonologist with...
In fact, taking them when you have a virus may do more harm than good. It can make you more likely to get an infection later that won’t respond to these meds at all, a condition called antibiotic resistance.
That doesn’t mean you should avoid these drugs in other situations. They can save your life, and if your doctor says you need them, you should fill the prescription for them ASAP.
How Does Antibiotic Resistance Work?
It happens when bacteria changes in a way that makes an antibiotic work less effectively or stop working altogether.
If you take these meds too often or use them when you don’t need them, the bacteria in your body are exposed to them over and over again. They get stronger and become able to resist them.
If that happens, your illness may linger with no signs of improvement. Or you may suddenly take a turn for the worse and wind up in the emergency room. You might have to be admitted to the hospital so you can get several different antibiotics through a vein (IV). And you could spread the ailment to people around you.
How Can I Avoid Antibiotic Resistance?
To protect yourself and others, take antibiotics only when you need them for a bacterial infection. Here are some tips: