It’s time to get smart about antibiotics.
You may think that if you’re sick, you need them. But that’s not always true.
I’m Dr. Joseph Toerner, a medical officer at FDA. And there are things you need to know
about antibiotics. For starters, they won’t cure anything and everything that ails you.
An antibiotic is a drug that kills bacteria. It won’t cure a cold or the flu – no matter
how lousy you feel – because those infections are caused by viruses. .
When should antibiotics be prescribed? When you’ve got an infection caused by bacteria,
like strep throat. There are some simple dos and don’ts when
it comes to taking an antibiotic. DO take it as directed.
DON’T stop taking it because you’re starting to feel better. DON’T share it. DON’T
save it. And DON’T pressure your healthcare provider
to prescribe an antibiotic. All drugs can have side effects. So if you’ve got a viral
infection, an antibiotic not only won’t help – it could make you feel worse.
In fact, overuse of antibiotics has caused the growth of antibiotic resistance – a
serious health problem. That’s when bacteria change in a way that makes antibiotics less
effective. Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics
can hurt you. In the future, it is possible that no antibiotic will be effective in killing
resistant bacteria. So get smart about antibiotics. Use them exactly
as directed and only to treat infections caused by bacteria.
To learn about using antibiotics safety and effectively, visit www.fda.gov/ Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers