Decorative pattern

What you should know

Antibiotic medicines treat bacterial infections. They kill bacteria and keep it from growing. If you use antibiotics the wrong way, they can make it difficult for your body to fight disease. Wrong use could lead to:

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

Bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics 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.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Get vaccinated.
  • Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed (don't skip doses or stop early).
  • Don't ask for antibiotics when your doctor says you don't need them.

    Instead, ask your doctor how to ease your symptoms.

Common illnesses

 Illness Usually virus Usually Bacteria need Antibiotic
Cold or runny nose Yes No No
Bronchitis or 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
Ear infection (fluid in the middle ear) Yes No No
Urinary tract infection No Yes Yes

Resources