We are getting into cold and flu season, which could increase visits to medical providers. They may in turn prescribe various medications for your illness. Prescription drugs can help you fight infection, disease and pain. But if you don’t take them properly, these medications won’t work effectively for you. And if prescription drugs, such as antibiotics are overused, it can lead to serious problems for all. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist to make sure you understand your medication, and use it properly.
Here are some tips on proper prescription drug use:
- Always finish your medicine as prescribed by your doctor. Even if you feel better beforehand.
- Don’t insist on antibiotics for viral infections, like a cold or flu. Antibiotics won’t help and their overuse contributes to drug resistant strains of bacteria. If you are concerned about why your doctor is not prescribing an antibiotic, ask why.
- If there are any pills left when your prescription is finished, don’t save them in your medicine cabinet for the next time you feel sick. Discard them properly.
- Don’t share drugs or antibiotics with anyone, even if they have what appear to be the same symptoms.
- Wash your hands frequently and follow other infection-control practices.
- It’s also a good idea to make sure that pre-packaged medicines are unopened, and that no protective seals or labels are missing.
- When you bring the prescription home, keep it away from children. A locked cabinet or drawer is best.