Decorative pattern

What you should know

Antibiotics are medicines that treat bacterial infections. They kill bacteria and keep it from growing. But if you use them the wrong way, it could be more difficult for your body to fight disease. Wrong use could lead to:

  • Allergic reaction.
  • Severe infection.
  • Deadly diarrhea.

Antibiotic resistance is mostly caused by using too many. At least 50% aren’t needed or effective.

What you can do

Help fight antibiotic resistance and stop the spread of disease. Follow these tips:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Get vaccinated.
  • Take antibiotics 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.

    If your doctor doesn’t prescribe antibiotics, ask them how to ease your symptoms.

Common Illnesses

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

Resources