Avoid Overuse of Antibiotics

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Avoid Overuse of Antibiotics


It's hard to make it through the winter without battling at least one or two cough or cold viruses. This year, don't be surprised if your doctor recommends against using an antibiotic.

New guidelines issued in January state that most adults suffering from acute respiratory tract infections (including the common cold, bronchitis, most sore throats and sinus infections), do not need an antibiotic. These types of infections are the most common reason for visits to the doctor and for outpatient antibiotic prescriptions for adults.

The guidelines were issued by the American College of Physicians and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the goal of combatting what the two organizations believe is an overuse of antibiotic treatment. The CDC estimates that 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed to adults in an outpatient setting may be unnecessary or inappropriate.

Unnecessary use of antibiotics contributes to the spread of so-called "super bugs" - antibiotic-resistant infections that pose a serious health threat, both to individuals and to our entire community. Primary care doctors are urged to encourage patients to treat their symptoms with over the counter medications and to give their illness time to work its way through their system.

Among the illness-specific recommendations:

Common cold: Symptoms from a common cold can linger for up to two weeks. If your cold lasts longer or if your symptoms worsen, follow up with your doctor.

Bronchitis: If you have uncomplicated bronchitis (meaning there is no pneumonia present), your doctor may advise you to use cough suppressants, expectorants, antihistamines or decongestants to help relieve symptoms.

Sore throat: For sore throats, an antibiotic is unlikely to be prescribed unless there is a positive test for strep throat.

Sinus Infection: A sinus infection that lasts for more than ten days or is accompanied by a high fever may require antibiotics but otherwise should clear up on its own.

Of course, regardless of whether you need an antibiotic or not, when you are sick you should still practice good hygiene and good common sense: Wash your hands, cover your cough and sneeze, and stay home when you are not well.

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Make Date Night a Priority

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Make Date Night a Priority


Valentine's Day is coming up and while this date can be a great time to schedule a date night with your significant other, making time with your partner should really be an ongoing commitment rather than a once a year thing.

Talk to your partner about scheduling time together on a regular basis. Studies show that one-on-one time is crucial for relationships, especially when finances, children and other responsibilities are a factor in your life.

Here are some free or low-cost ideas to get your date night ideas flowing!

  • Try star gazing in your own back yard or out in the country. Just bring a blanket and gaze upwards together. If you're the scientific type, you might get a star map and try to identify constellations.
  • Rake leaves together. Make a big pile and jump in them. Let go of any inhibitions about being neat and tidy. Don't have any fallen leaves? Find someone who does and volunteer to rake theirs.
  • Find an empty, open church. Sit, kneel, explore, pray. Let peace and reverence seep into your being. Quietly pray for each other. If you like, discuss your deepest spiritual beliefs afterwards.
  • Pick a night to "wait" on your spouse. You get the drinks, the snacks, his/her slippers, favorite game, etc. You can even dramatize your role as servant. Just make sure that you alternate the favor sometime soon.
  • Commit to a "tech free" night. Turn off your cell phones, computer, the TV, and the lights. Use your imagination to see what's left to do without electricity.
  • Go to an amusement park or arcade. It doesn't have to be one of those fancy, expensive parks. Go without the kids and BE kids again. Do those silly arcade games like skee ball or whack-a-mole. Impress your spouse with your strength or cunning...or laugh at your ineptitude.
  • Play a game from your childhood - croquet, badminton, hide and seek, miniature golf. Reminisce and be playful together.
  • Build something together - ice cream sundaes, a pizza with your favorite toppings, a tower of blocks. Perhaps you will find a chuckle over the odd or weird combinations that reflect your different approaches to food, building, and life.
  • Visit a pet store together. This is usually good for stirring up warm fuzzy feelings. Restrain yourself from buying, however, unless you're really ready for a new family member. Talk about any pets you had as a child.
  • Ever gone midnight bowling? It's more than just bowling. Some places have special music, lighting, and gimmicks. Even without these, it can be a ball of fun if you don't take it too seriously.
  • Hang out at a bookstore. Browse through your favorite sections. Many bookstores have cozy reading spots or a cafe connected with them. Assume an erudite persona for an evening.

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