Cold or Flu—Why Antibiotics Don’t Work for You
When we feel sick we want to feel better fast. But antibiotics are not always the answer. Most illnesses are caused by two types of germs: bacteria and viruses. Antibiotics only cure bacterial infections, not viral infections.
Bacterial infections include strep throat, some pneumonias and serious skin infections. Viral Infections include the common cold, most coughs and influenza.
Many people ask, “Won’t an antibiotic make me feel better faster when I have a cold or influenza?” The truth is antibiotics do nothing to help a viral illness and will not help you feel better sooner.
If antibiotics are prescribed for you to treat a bacterial infection be sure to take all the medication as prescribed. Only using part of the medicine means only part of the infection has been treated. Not finishing all the antibiotic can cause resistant bacteria to develop. These resistant bacteria are stronger and harder to kill. They can stay in your body and cause severe illnesses that cannot be cured with antibiotic medicines. A cure for resistant bacteria may require stronger treatment and a possible hospital stay.
Remember, using an antibiotic for a viral illness:
Will not cure the infection.
Will not help you feel better faster.
Will not keep others from catching your illness.
For more information, talk to your health care provider and follow his or her advice on what to do for your illness.
Reference: Centers for Disease Control-www.cdc.gov