Using Antibiotics Properly:
• Antibiotics are powerful drugs used to treat certain bacterial infections—and they should be taken exactly as prescribed by your health care provider.
• If you do get sick, antibiotics may not always help. If used inappropriately, they can make bacteria resistant to treatment—thus making illnesses harder to get rid of.
• Antibiotics do not work against viruses such as cold or the flu. When in doubt, check with your health care provider—and always follow the antibiotic label instructions carefully.
• Adults need tetanus and diphtheria boosters every 10 years. Shots are also often needed for protection from illnesses when traveling to other countries.
• Get your flu shot. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each fall.
• Most adults only need a pneumonia shot once in their lifetime. Some high risk people may need booster shots every 5 years.
Manage your medications and talk to your health care provider about how your medications work together. Bring a list of all medications you are taking to every doctor and specialist you see.
An article in today's New York Times, Too Many Pills for Aging Patients, by Jane Brody, gives some helpful advice:
"The geriatric society’s Foundation for Health in Aging has produced a one-page “drug and supplement diary” that can help patients keep track of the drugs and dosages they take. They should show the list to every health care provider they see. The form can be found at www.americangeriatrics.org/files/documents/beers/MyDrugDiary.pdf.
Too often, people with multiple health problems have one doctor who does not know what another has prescribed. A new prescription can lead to a toxic drug interaction, or simply be ineffective, because it is counteracted by something else being taken.
There is nothing to be gained, and potentially much to lose, by failing to disclose to health care professionals the use of prescribed, over-the-counter or recreational drugs, including alcohol. Nor should any chronic medical condition or prior adverse drug reaction be kept from your doctor.
Whenever a medication is prescribed, patients should ask about side effects to watch for. If a bad or unexpected reaction occurs or the drug does not seem to be working, the prescribing doctor should be told without delay. But patients should never stop taking a prescribed medication without first consulting a health care professional."
Click here to read the entire article.