Health - easy on the antibioticsDr Edwin Kruys, Ochre Health

Unfortunately in Australia we are using antibiotics too often. As a result we have created an antibiotic resistance problem.

This means that some bacterial infections are becoming more difficult to treat. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria mutate to protect themselves from an antibiotic.

Antibiotics only work on bacteria, not for other infections like viruses that cause colds and flu. If antibiotics are used for viral infections, the chance that bacteria becomes resistant increases and this leads to the development of superbugs or multi resistant bacteria, like ‘golden staph’. These bacteria can be transmitted to others.

If you have a cold or flu, antibiotics do not help. Instead, get rest, maintain fluid intake, use saline nasal sprays or drops, and paracetamol for a sore throat. A common myth is that green or yellow snot or phlegm means that we need antibiotics.

To avoid spreading viruses, avoid coughing or sneezing in your hands, cover your mouth using tissues instead, throw them away after use and wash your hands.