To Know When Antibiotics Work:Get Smart

If You Have a Cold or Flu, Antibiotics Won’t Work for You

Are you aware that colds, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections are caused by viruses? Did you know that antibiotics do not help fight viruses? It’s true. For the overwhelming majority of common respiratory infections, antibiotics are not helpful.

Know When Antibiotics Work

Antibiotics cure bacterial infections, not viral infections such as:

  • Colds or flu
  • Most coughs and bronchitis
  • Most sore throats
  • Runny noses

Taking antibiotics for viral infections will not:

  • Cure the infection
  • Keep other individuals from catching the illness
  • Help you feel better

 

Antibiotics can cause More Harm than Good

  • Taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good:
  • Taking antibiotics increases your risk of getting an antibiotic-resistant infection later.
  • Antibiotics kill the healthy bacteria in the gut, allowing more harmful bacteria, such as C. difficile, to grow in its place.
  • Antibiotics cause 1 out of 5 emergency department visits for adverse drug events.
  • Antibiotics are the most common cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug events in children under 18 years of age.
  • Although this infection is more commonly found in hospitals, it also occurs in clinics outside of the hospital.

It’s important to only take antibiotics for bacterial infections since they can put you or your child at risk for harmful side effects and antibiotic-resistant infections.

 

Copy Right and Credit: CDC.gov

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