ANTIBIOTICS DON’T WORK FOR EVERYTHING
Bacterial Infections Vs. Viral Infections
Antibiotics are medications used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics have the ability to either kill bacteria directly or stop their reproduction. The common cold and flu are respiratory infections caused by viruses, which means there’s no point taking antibiotics to treat a cold or flu and you shouldn’t ask your doctor to prescribe them for a cold or flu.
Antibiotics: Not for Viral Infections
Taking antibiotics for viral infections will not cure the infection, may cause unwanted side effects, and will not prevent the transmission of the infection to others. In addition, taking antibiotics when they are not needed can lead to antibiotic resistance. This is when bacteria resist the effects of an antibiotic and it means that the infections they cause will be more difficult to treat in the future. For these and other reasons, it is important to use antibiotics only in situations where they are necessary.
A Cure for the Common Cold or Flu?
Taking antibiotics for viral infections will not cure the infection, may cause unwanted side effects, and will not prevent the transmission of the infection to others.
If you have any remaining questions, please contact your healthcare provider.
1. Antibiotics Summary. (2015) Retrieved from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/antibiotics.html
2. Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer. (2015). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/features/getsmart/
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