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Snort. Sniffle. Sneeze. No Antibiotics Please!

ATLANTA, GA -- It's that time of year. People are starting to go to the hospital or doctor's office with common colds and respiratory symptoms. But there are some simple things you can to do to avoid feeling "under the weather." off duty or on.

Are you aware that colds, flu, most sore throats, and bronchitis are caused by viruses? Did you know that antibiotics do not help fight viruses? It's true. Plus, taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.

Some Key facts.....
  • · Over 200 viruses can cause the common cold
  • · The rhinovirus is the most common type of virus that causes colds

Runny Nose during a Cold:

When germs that cause colds first infect the nose and sinuses, the nose makes clear mucus. This helps wash the germs from the nose and sinuses. After two or three days, the body's immune cells fight back, changing the mucus to a white or yellow color. As the bacteria that live in the nose grow back, they may also be found in the mucus, which changes the mucus to a greenish color. This is normal and does not mean you need antibiotics.

Signs and Symptoms of the Common Cold.:

These symptoms can last for up to two weeks:
  • · Sneezing Stuffy or runny nose
  • · Sore throat Coughing
  • · Watery eyes
  •   Mild headache
  • · Mild body aches
See a Healthcare Provider if You have:
  • · Temperature higher than 100.4° F
  • · Symptoms that last more than 10 days
  • · Symptoms that are not relieved by over-the-counter medicines
Your healthcare provider can determine if you have a cold and can recommend symptomatic therapy if needed.

Antibiotics are Needed When...

Antibiotics are needed only if your healthcare provider tells you that you have a bacterial infection. Your healthcare provider may prescribe other medicine or give tips to help with a cold's symptoms, but antibiotics are not needed to treat a cold or runny nose.

Antibiotics Will Not Help if...

Since the common cold is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help it get better. A runny nose or cold almost always gets better on its own, so it is better to wait and take antibiotics only when they are needed. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can be harmful.

Each time you take an antibiotic, the bacteria that normally live in your body (on the skin, in the intestine, in the mouth and nose, etc.) are more likely to become resistant to antibiotics.

Common antibiotics cannot kill infections caused by these resistant germs.

Learn more about antibiotic resistance (http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/anitbiotic-resistance-faqs.html)
.
How to Feel Better:

Rest, over-the-counter medicines and other self-care methods can help you feel better. For more information about symptomatic relief, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
(see CDC  link below for more info)

For upper respiratory infections, such as sore throats, ear infections, sinus infections, colds, and bronchitis, try the following:
  • · Get plenty of rest
  • · Drink plenty of fluids
  • · Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • · Avoid smoking, second-hand smoke, and other pollutants (airborne chemicals or irritants)
  • · Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain or fever
For adults, over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants and saline nasal sprays may help relieve some symptoms.

Remember, always use over-the-counter products as directed.!

Over-the-counter medicines may help relieve symptoms such as runny nose, congestion, fever and aches, but they do not shorten the length of time you are sick.


Here are some helpful tips for how to feel better depending on which symptoms are causing you the most discomfort:

Sore Throat
  • · Soothe a sore throat with ice chips, sore throat spray, or lozenges
  • · Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
  • · Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain or fever

Ear Pain
  • · Put a warm moist cloth over the ear that hurts
  • · Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain or fever

Runny Nose
  • · Use a decongestant or saline nasal spray to help relieve nasal symptoms

Sinus Pain/Pressure
  • · Put a warm compress over the nose and forehead to help relieve sinus pressure
  • · Use a decongestant or saline nasal spray
  • · Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or shower
  • · Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain or fever

Cough
  • ·Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer or breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or shower

Preventing the Common Cold

  • · Practice good hand hygiene (warm soapy water for 20 seconds)
  • · Avoid close contact with people who have colds or other upper respiratory infections
  • · Avoid touching your face
  • · Sanitize your work surfaces, especially if shared with others and clean common surfaces like tables and door knobs

I f you have any questions, contact the 131st Medical Group:

                                                        TSgt Andrea Reid 
                                                        NCOIC of Public Health 
                                                        660-687-1737 
                                                        DSN: 975-1737

On the web, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/colds.html