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Antibiotics only kill bacteria and thus are useless against the flu. Taking antibiotics when you don't need them contributes to an important public health problem -- antibiotic resistance. Some diseases that were once easily cured by antibiotics have become resistant to treatment. For example, earlier this century, antibiotics nearly eliminated dreaded bacterial diseases like tuberculosis and gonorrhea. However, years of widespread misuse have allowed "antibiotic-resistant" forms of these illnesses to become more common. Most people think that taking an antibiotic cannot hurt them. But taking an antibiotic when it will not help, such as for a cold or the flu, can actually increase your risk of getting a bacterial infection that may not be curable.
However, if your health care professional finds that you've developed a bacterial infection such as pneumonia, bronchitis or sinusitis, antibiotics may be prescribed. Be sure to take the full amount of medication as prescribed until the prescription runs out, even if you start feeling better; otherwise, the infection can come back. Never stockpile antibiotics or share them with other people who may have the flu.
Rest is important to help you get better. Plus, if you stay home, there's less risk that you'll give the flu to other people. Flu continues to be contagious for three to four days after symptoms appear.
The following may help you minimize flu symptoms: