(HealthDay News) -- An antibiotic isn't appropriate for treating all infections, unless the illness is caused by bacteria.

If the illness is caused by a virus, on the other hand, an antibiotic won't do any good. In fact, using an antibiotic for anything otherthan a bacterial illness may do more harm than good.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests how to ease discomfort when an antibiotic isn'twhat the doctor ordered:

  • Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about any over-the-counter medication that may ease symptoms.
  • Drink more fluids than usual.
  • Allow your body plenty of time to rest and recover.
  • Ease congestion by using a saline nasal spray or running a cool-mist humidifier.
  • If you have a sore throat, suck on ice chips, use a sore throat spray or suck on lozenges (adults only).