To make you feel better when you are sick. But many people don't realize that all medicines have risks as well as benefits. The risks of medicines include unwanted side effects or interactions with food or other medicines you may be taking. Some risks are not very serious, like an upset stomach. Others, like liver damage, are more serious. Food and Drug Administration considers it safe enough to approve. Both prescription and over-the-counter medicines must be approved before they can be sold in the U.S. To reduce the risk of a problem, follow the directions carefully when taking medicines. Make sure that your health care provider knows all of the medicines and supplements you are using. Also, make sure to mention if you are pregnant or nursing. Some medicines can hurt your baby.

Many people also take medicines to control illnesses that don't completely go away, such as diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure. With help from these medicines, people can enjoy life and avoid some of the worst symptoms associated with their illnesses.
Finally, there are important medicines that keep people from getting sick in the first place. Some of these are called immunizations (say: ih-myoo-nuh-zay-shunz), and they are usually given as a shot. They prevent people from catching serious illnesses like measles and mumps. There is even an immunization that prevents chickenpox, and many people get a flu shot each winter to avoid the flu. Although shots are never fun, they are a very important part of staying healthy.