Rocky Mountain Health Plans | Medicare | Winter 2020

6 • WINTER 2020 | RMHP.ORG Feel Better With out Antibiotics In the thick of winter, we can find ourselves facing illness far too often. Most illnesses are caused by two kinds of germs: bacteria or viruses. Antibiotics are prescription medications used to fight bacterial infections; however, they do not fight infections caused by viruses, like colds, the flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus or ear infections. If it’s a virus that’s making you sick, taking an antibiotic can actually do more harm than good. And, taking antibiotics too often or when not prescribed can cause the body to develop antibiotic resistance. Have a viral infection? Try one of these alternatives to antibiotics instead: • Reduce fever by applying a cool, damp cloth to forehead or neck. • Take ibuprofen and acetaminophen as directed. Check with the doctor about dosing for children. • Drink more clear fluids, including water, teas, soups, and ice chips. • Get plenty of rest. • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier to relieve congestion. • Soothe a sore throat with sore throat sprays, gargle with warm salt water, or use lozenges (do not give lozenges to young children). • Alleviate a cough with a teaspoon of honey for children over the age of one (do not give honey to children younger than one year). The next time you get a prescription for an antibiotic, talk with your doctor about how this medication will help your symptoms, and ask any questions you may have. Get Involved With Your Care Looking to get more involved with your care and help improve the patient experience? Use your experience and voice your thoughts by participating in a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC)! A PFAC is a group of interested patients, family members, or caregivers who use their firsthand knowledge and experience to work together with their primary care provider’s (PCP) office to help improve the patient experience. Your feedback can help your doctor’s office better understand the current patient experience and identify areas for improvement. There are many PCPs across Colorado who are creating PFACs, so talk to your PCP to see if they offer one and how to become involved.