The development of antibiotics was one of the greatest breakthroughs of modern medicine. Antibiotics can successfully fight infections that used to be life threatening like bacterial pneumonia. However, antibiotics cure bacterial infections, NOT viral infections.
Colds, influenza, most sore throats and bronchitis are caused by viruses. Taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. When you take antibiotics if they are not needed it can increase your risk of getting an infection later which resists needed antibiotic treatment. Widespread over use and inappropriate use are fueling an increase in antibiotic resistance bacteria. In the US antibiotic resistant infections are responsible for approximately $20 Billion in excess health care costs.
If you take an antibiotic for a viral infection when it is not needed it will not cure a virus, keep others from catching the illness or help you feel better.
When you are prescribed an antibiotic by your health care provider:
*Take it exactly as the directions read on the bottle. Complete the prescribed course even if you are feeling better. If you stop your treatment too soon, some bacteria can survive and cause a stronger infection later.
*Finish all medication given. Do NOT keep the medication to be used at a later date. Do NOT keep your left over medication to give to another family member or friend. An allergic reaction to a medication can occur at any time. If you give a medication to a family member or friend not prescribed by their medical provider an allergic reaction could occur causing a significant side effect or death.
If you have questions about any antibiotics, their use or disposal be sure to contact your medical provider.