Content sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Hospital
While flu activity is sporadic across Michigan, doctor's offices are seeing a number of illnesses common at this time of the year: Upper respiratory infections, sore and strep throat, croup and gastroenteritis.
Before you run to the doctor hoping to get a prescription for an antibiotic to lessen the symptoms, consider this fact: Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like ailments like the cold, bronchitis and ear infections.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of five emergency department visits for adverse drug events are due to antibiotics. They're also the most common cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug events in children under 18.
Antibiotic overuse has led to a serious health problem called antibiotic resistance, in which bacteria don't kill germs and the germs survive and continue to multiply, rendering medications less effective at curing or preventing infections.
Bridget McArdle, D.O., Henry Ford Health System pediatrician
Dina Ibrahim, M.D., Henry Ford Health System family medicine physician
So far this winter, cold and snow has given way to rain and unseasonable temperatures.
But as 2016 gets under way, it's important for people not to let their guard down for practicing good health hygiene to reduce the spread of infection to family members, classmates and co-workers.
-Get your flu shot if you haven't yet. Flu season can last until May.
-Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
-Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
-Try to avoid close contact
-If sick with flu like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
-Make sure adults and children in your house are up-to-date on all immunizations - flu and pneumonia included - to reduce severity of illness.