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Get Smart Week is Nov. 14-20.

More information can be found at CDC.org.


Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer

Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Viral illnesses cannot be treated with antibiotics. When an antibiotic is not prescribed, ask your healthcare professional for tips on how to relieve symptoms and feel better.


Day 1 What is antibiotic resistance?


Day 2 Can antibiotics cure bronchitis?


Day 3 Can antibiotics cure the
common cold?


Day 4 Does my child need antibiotics
for an ear infection?


Day 5 Are antibiotics needed for a
sinus infection?

Day 6 What's the difference between a
sore throat and strep throat?

Antibiotic use is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance in the world today. As much as 50 percent  of all antibiotics prescribed are either not needed or not effective as prescribed. Antibiotics are also commonly used in food animals to promote growth and to prevent, control, and treat disease.

Antibiotics can and do save lives but poor practices are putting people at unnecessary risk for preventable allergic reactions, severe antibiotic-resistant infections, and deadly diarrhea. The loss of effective antibiotics seriously affects our ability to fight diseases.


What We Can Do

We all have a role to play to ensure that we (and our children and their children) have effective antibiotics to treat bacterial infections and prevent the spread of diseases.

  • Prevent infections by practicing good hand hygiene and getting recommended vaccines.
  • Be sure to take antibiotic exactly as the doctor prescribes (don't skip doses or stop early).
  • Don't ask for antibiotics when your doctor thinks you don't need them.

Here are some common illnesses and their cause:


 Usual Cause
 Illness  Virus   Bacteria
 Antibiotic 
 Needed
 Cold/ Runny Nose
Yes No No
 Bronchitis/Chest Cold*                 
Yes
No
No
 Chest Cold*
Yes
No
No
 Whooping Cough
No
Yes
Yes
 Flu
Yes
No
No
 Strep Throat
No
Yes
Yes
 Sore Throat*
Yes
No
No
 Fluid in the Middle Ear Yes No
No
 Urinary Tract Infection
No Yes Yes


 

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