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AntiBiotics: 7 Facts you should know

Here are seven facts you should know to Be Antibiotics Aware:

1. Antibiotics save lives.

When a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects or antibiotic resistance.

2. Antibiotics aren’t always the answer.

Everyone can help improve antibiotic prescribing or use.

3. Antibiotics do not work on viruses.

This means they don't work on colds and flu, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow or green.

4. Antibiotics are only for bacteria.

Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria. Even so, antibiotics won’t help some common bacterial infections including most cases of bronchitis, many sinus infections, and some ear infections.

5. An antibiotic will not make you feel better if you have a virus.

Respiratory viruses usually go away in a week or two without treatment. Ask your healthcare professional about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.

6. Taking antibiotics creates resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.

7. If you need antibiotics, only take them as prescribed.

Don't take them faster, slower or even stop taking them based on how you feel. The antibiotics need to complete their work on their time, not yours.

Talk with your provider if you have any questions about your antibiotics, or if you develop any side effects, especially diarrhea, since that could be a C. difficile (c. diff) infection which needs to be treated right away.

Beverly J. Howard, PhD, RN, FNP-BC

Adpated from the CDC: Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor’s Offices

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