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Taking Antibiotics Safely

Thereís no doubt that antibiotics, when used correctly, are miracle drugs. These powerful drugs have fought bacteria and infection, and in turn have added years to our lives. However, due to overuse of antibiotics, we are now facing a serious threat from bacterial infections. Hereís why you should know about taking antibiotics safely.

Virus or Bacteria?
Antibiotics are effective when used to treat certain illnesses. But antibiotics unnecessarily can even be harmful.

There are two main types of germs that cause most infections: viruses and bacteria.

Viruses Cause:
All colds and flu
Most coughs
Minor sore throats
Antibiotics cannot kill viruses.

Bacteria Cause:
Most ear infections
Urinary tract infections
Strep throat
Antibiotics do kill specific bacteria
Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Each time you take an antibiotic; bacteria are killed or are prevented from multiplying. Sometimes bacteria become resistant. This means the antibiotics has little or no effect on them and they continue to cause infection. If you take an antibiotic unnecessarily or improperly, you increase your chances of developing drug-resistant bacteria. So, it is very important to take antibiotics only when necessary.

How to Protect Yourself from Drug-Resistant Bacteria
Follow dosing directions exactly when taking antibiotics. This means taking them for the prescribed time even though you feel better right away. This may help decrease the development of resistant bacteria.

Donít pressure your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic. If your doctor says that you donít need an antibiotic, it is probably because it wonít cure your illness. Remember that unnecessary antibiotics can be harmful

Do not save unused antibiotics for the next time you are sick.

Never take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.

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