Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections, but not viral infections. The common cold and the flu are viral infections, so avoid using antibiotics if you have one of these. Using antibiotics when they are not needed causes some bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic, and therefore stronger and harder to kill. See your doctor or nurse to find out if your illness is bacterial or viral.
5 Facts You Should Know To Be Antibiotics Aware:
- Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics won’t help some common bacterial infections including most cases of bronchitis, many sinus infections, and some ear infections.
- Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as colds and flu, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow or green. Respiratory viruses usually go away in a week or two without treatment. Ask your healthcare professional about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.
- Overuse of antibiotics is a major cause of increases in drug-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. Antibiotic resistance can cause significant suffering for people who have common infections that once were easily treatable with antibiotics.
- Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health. Antibiotic resistance in children and older adults is of particular concern because these age groups have the highest rates of antibiotic use.
- Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about your antibiotics. When antibiotics do not work, infections often last longer, cause more severe illness, require more doctor visits or longer hospital stays, and involve more expensive medications.