Health Tip: When Antibiotics Aren't the Answer

(HealthDay News) -- An antibiotic isn't appropriate for treating all infections, unless the illness is caused by bacteria.

If the illness is caused by a virus, on the other hand, an antibiotic won't do any good. In fact, using an antibiotic for anything other than a bacterial illness may do more harm than good.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests how to ease discomfort when an antibiotic isn't what the doctor ordered:

  • Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about any over-the-counter medication that may ease symptoms.

  • Drink more fluids than usual.

  • Allow your body plenty of time to rest and recover.

  • Ease congestion by using a saline nasal spray or running a cool-mist humidifier.

  • If you have a sore throat, suck on ice chips, use a sore throat spray or suck on lozenges (adults only).