Taking an antibiotic

Antibiotics can help you recover from a bacterial infection, but they offer no medical benefit against viruses.Prescribing an antibiotic for a viral illness, in fact, isn’t a good idea. Overuse of these medicines can make the bacteria in your body resistant to the drugs. The medicines then lose their effectiveness, making a bacterial illness harder to treat.

The American Academy of Family Physicians lists these illnesses that are often treated with an antibiotic, and a few that don’t need the medication:

* Colds and flu are caused by viruses, and won’t respond to antibiotics.

* Cough and bronchitis are usually caused by viruses. However, people with chronic lung problems or those who have a cough that lasts a long time may need antibiotics.

* While a regular sore throat is caused by a virus, strep throat is a bacterial infection that requires antibiotic treatment.

* Ear and sinus infections should be evaluated by a doctor, since many are caused by bacteria, while others are viral.

— HealthDay News

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