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Posted or Updated on 21 Feb 2022
Smart use of antibiotics is the best care. Here are some steps you can take to use antibiotics appropriately so you can get the best treatment when you’re sick, protect yourself from harms caused by unnecessary antibiotic use, and combat antibiotic resistance.
Take antibiotics ONLY if you need them.
Antibiotics ONLY treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as:
- Strep throat
- Whooping cough
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
Antibiotics DO NOT work on viruses, such as those that cause:
- Colds and runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green
- Most sore throats (except strep throat)
- Most cases of chest colds (bronchitis)
Antibiotics also ARE NOT needed for some common bacterial infections, including:
- Many sinus infections
- Some ear infections
Taking antibiotics when they’re not needed won’t help you, and their side effects can still cause harm. Your doctor can decide the best treatment for you when you’re sick. Never pressure your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic.