Woman with pills in her hand

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Say No to Antibiotics When You Don't Need Them

Antibiotics can be lifesaving, but taking them unnecessarily can ratchet up your inflammation levels. "These kill both the good and bad bacteria in your gut. Disrupting this bacterial balance can trigger low-level inflammation," says Shemek. Indeed, research in mBio found that a single course of antibiotics is enough to change the gut microbiome for up to a year. One way to make a big impact on your own antibiotic use? Avoid taking them unnecessarily, like for viral conditions such as bronchitis, the common cold, the flu or a sore throat, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.