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Self-care Tips for Minor Illness

Self-care Tips for Minor Illness


Do I always need antibiotics if I have cold or flu?

  • 90% of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) do not require antibiotic treatment (URTI such as common cold and influenza that are of viral origin).
  • If you have a cold or flu, adopt the following measures:
    • Have adequate rest and drink plenty of water.  If symptoms persist, consult your doctor
    • Follow your doctor’s advice on the use of drugs
    • Do not push your doctor to prescribe antibiotics
    • ​Do not self-medicate antibiotics 

If I am having a cold or flu and my nasal discharge changes to yellow or green, do I need antibiotics?

It is quite common for the discharge to become thick and change to yellow or green during a cold or flu. Therefore, changes in the appearance of nasal discharge alone do not justify the use of antibiotics. Always consult your doctor for the use of antibiotics.


Do I always need antibiotics if I have fever?

No. Fever is a common presenting symptom of infection which may or may not be caused by bacterial infections. You should follow your doctor’s advice for the use of antibiotics. For the sake of your own health, you should neither push your doctor to prescribe nor self-medicate antibiotics.


Keep vaccination up-to-date

The World Health Organization emphasized that vaccination is a key element in preventing infections, alongside with other factors such as improved sanitation and infection control. Pneumococcal vaccine has been shown by studies to be effective in reducing overall antibiotic prescription. Another vaccine in focus is seasonal flu vaccine. The role of seasonal flu vaccination in fighting AMR is two-fold. It is not uncommon for people with flu symptoms to take antibiotics unnecessarily. According to the survey on HK general public's knowledge, attitude and practice on antimicrobial resistance, 54% of respondents mistaken that cold and flu are treatable by antibiotics. Seasonal flu vaccination can therefore not only prevent the inappropriate primary use of antibiotics, but also their use for secondary bacterial infections, which translates into fewer opportunities for resistance to occur.