Get Smart About Antibiotics
Use antibiotics only for infections caused by bacteria
Antibiotics are drugs that fight infections caused by bacteria NOT viruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like the common cold, most sore throats, and the flu. Taking antibiotics for viral infections will NOT:
- Cure the infection
- Keep other people from catching it
- Help you feel better
- Make you get back to work faster
Using antibiotics for viruses can put you at risk of getting a bacterial infection that is resistant to antibiotic treatment. Today, almost all important bacterial infections in the United States and throughout the world are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world's most pressing public health problems.
Antibiotics are powerful drugs, but they are not the cure for all that ails you. The smart use of antibiotics is the key to controlling the spread of resistance.
FDA has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health care professional, government, academic, international and industry partners as part of a joint effort to raise awareness about the appropriate use of antibiotics.
- CDC: Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work
- CDC: Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance
- MedlinePlus: Antibiotics
- NIAD: Antimicrobial Resistance