Antibiotics save lives and are needed for treating certain infections such as those caused by bacteria. If you have the common cold or the flu, antibiotics won’t help you because these illnesses are caused by viruses. It’s important to only take antibiotics for bacterial infections since they can put you at risk for harmful side effects and antibiotic resistant infections.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them in response to overuse and misuse of antibiotics. As a result resistant bacteria cause illnesses that were once easily cured. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are more often difficult to kill and more expensive to treat. In some cases these antibiotic resistant infections can lead to serious disability or even death.
Taking antibiotics for viral infections such as the common cold, most sore throats, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections are examples of how overuse of antibiotics can promote the spread of antibiotic resistance. So the next time you are sick, don’t be disappointed if antibiotics aren’t prescribed at first, it may one day save your life or someone else’s. Learn More about Antibiotics.