Know the facts about antibiotics

Did you know that 1 in 3 antibiotic prescriptions are not necessary?

As this is such an important public health topic, Governor Inslee has declared November 13–19 Antibiotic Awareness Week to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use. In observance, our Healthcare Associated Infections program is sharing tips on the correct use of antibiotics.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Use antibiotics only when necessary. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as colds and flu, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow or green. When antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you, and the side effects could still hurt you.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about the best way to feel better while your body fights off a virus. Pain relievers, fever reducers, saline nasal spray or drops, warm compresses, liquids, and rest may help.
  • If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about your antibiotics, or if you develop any side effects, especially diarrhea, since that could be a C. difficile infection, which needs to be treated.
  • Stay healthy and keep others healthy by cleaning hands, covering coughs, staying home when sick, and getting recommended vaccines, for the flu, for example.

Want to learn more? Check out our page on Antibiotic Resistance and the CDC’s page on Antibiotic Use.

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Washington State Department of Health

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