Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from reproducing and spreading. But they don’t work for everything. When it comes to antibiotics, take your doctor’s advice.
- Antibiotics don’t work for viral infections such as colds and flu, and most coughs and sore throats
- Many mild bacterial infections also get better on their own without using antibiotics
- Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them encourages dangerous bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you next need them most. This puts you and your family at serious risk.
When antibiotics are used
Antibiotics may be used to treat bacterial infections that:
- Are unlikely to clear up without antibiotics
- Could infect others unless treated
- Could take too long to clear without treatment
- Carry a risk of more serious complications