Viruses or Bacteria: What’s Got You Sick?
Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Viral illnesses cannot be treated with antibiotics. When an antibiotic is not prescribed, your healthcare provider can give you tips on how to relieve symptoms and feel better.
- What happens if I take antibiotics when I don’t need them?
Anytime antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects, including rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea and yeast infections. More serious side effects can occur and people can have severe and life-threatening allergic reactions. Taking antibiotics also creates resistant bacteria, which occurs when bacteria no longer respond to the drugs designed to kill them.
- Can antibiotic resistance affect me?
Yes, it can. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and at least 23,000 people die as a result.
- Why is it important for everyone to help improve antibiotic use?
Antibiotics save lives, and they are critical tools for treating a number of common infections, such as pneumonia, and for life-threatening conditions including sepsis. Improving the way we take antibiotics helps keep us healthy, helps fight antibiotic resistance and ensures that life-saving antibiotics will be available for future generations.
- What if I am prescribed antibiotics?
If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed and finish the entire dose, even when you begin feeling better. Ask your healthcare provider any questions you have about antibiotics, or if you develop any side effects, especially diarrhea.
- What should I do when I have a cold?
Drink plenty of fluids, use a cool mist vaporizer or saline spray if you are congested, get plenty of rest and, if you have an infection that’s not getting better, or is getting worse, visit Righttime.
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on appropriate use of antibiotics.