4 things to know about antibiotics

Most people will take an antibiotic at least a few times in their life. Here are some important things to keep in mind.

  1. Antibiotics don’t work for everything. They only kill bacterial infections, so they won’t help if you have a virus like a cold or the flu.
  2. Overusing antibiotics can cause more harm than good. Bacteria can adapt and become resistant to the medicine, making infections harder to treat. Work closely with your doctor to find the best treatment.
  3. If you are prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. It’s important to take all your medicine as directed to keep the infection from coming back.
  4. Don’t save or take old antibiotics. Different antibiotics treat different types of infections. An old one may not help. Taking it may even put you at risk for drug resistance.

Adapted from Cleveland Clinic. 4 Things You Need to Know About Antibiotics. Published December 23, 2014. Accessed September 20, 2017.