Health Tip: What You Should Know About Antibiotics

(HealthDay News) — When a person truly needs an antibiotic, the benefits of taking one outweigh the risks of side effects and antibiotic resistance, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

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But is an antibiotic always needed?

The CDC offers this information:

  • Antibiotics are not effective on viruses, such as a cold or the flu. An antibiotic will only treat an infection that’s bacterial, not viral or fungal.
  • If an antibiotic is overprescribed or prescribed for an illness that is not bacterial, it raises the risk of producing antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This occurs when bacteria mutate to become immune to an antibiotic’s bacteria-killing effects.
  • Never stop taking an antibiotic just because you’re feeling better. The infection you’re trying to eliminate may not be altogether gone, creating the potential for re-development of the infection that could be resistant to the antibiotic you’ve been taking.
  • Antibiotics also can have side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, diarrhea and yeast infections.

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