It’s the time of year for colds and coughs, and Calderdale Council is reminding people to choose their medication wisely – antibiotics are not necessarily the answer, and could do more harm than good.
Colds and flu are caused by viruses and their symptoms can be easily managed using over-the-counter medicines. You don’t need antibiotics for viral infections – they are there for bacterial infections. There is a myth that green snot is due to a bacterial infection and requires antibiotics, but green snot is seen with viral infections too.
Not only will antibiotics not help you recover from colds and flu, but when you take antibiotics they don’t just affect that part of your body. They also affect the ‘good bacteria’ in your body which protect you from other infections. Also, if you take antibiotics when you don’t need to, they might not work when you really need them.
If you don’t need them you shouldn’t take them or ask for them.
The typical symptoms of colds and flu include sore throats, coughing with phlegm or a hoarse voice, blocked nose, sneezing, runny nose, headaches and aching joints. There are lots of options to manage colds and flu, so if you have these classic symptoms speak to your local chemist about ways to control your symptoms and make yourself feel better.
Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Paul Butcher, said:
“We all know that prevention is better than the cure, so we’re asking people to take precautions this winter to avoid infections including getting their flu jab to protect themselves and others from flu.”
The flu jab is free for:
- People with a serious medical condition
- Pregnant women
- Those aged 65 or over
- Those in long-stay residential care and carers
Flu jabs are available at your GP, local pharmacy and supermarket pharmacies.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Health Inequalities, Cllr Simon Young, added:
“Winter is a busy time for GPs. We’re asking people to think twice before going to their doctor for antibiotics. We can all do our bit to make sure appointments are there for people who really need them.”