Antibiotic Resistance

Common myths & realities

MYTH: I can stop taking my antibiotics as soon as I start feeling better.
REALITY: Even though you feel better, you need to keep taking the antibiotics exactly as your doctor prescribed them. If you don't finish the antibiotics, some of the dangerous bacteria may not die and you might get sick again. The bacteria that are still alive could also become resistant and make the infection you already have even harder to treat.
MYTH: As long as I take the right number of pills, I can take antibiotics at any time of day.
REALITY: Antibiotics don't work as well when they aren't taken on time. Because medicines stay in your system for a certain amount of time, you must take each dose according to the instructions from your doctor and pharmacist. Taking antibiotics irregularly allows bacteria to adapt and multiply, adding to the problem of antibiotic resistance.
MYTH: I can save leftover antibiotics for the next time I get sick.
REALITY: You should never take leftover pills, whether they're someone else's or your own. Specific antibiotics are effective against specific bacteria, and it is wrong to assume that someone else's pills (or some of your own leftover pills from another illness) will work. Antibiotics should always be finished unless directed by a physician to stop. Any remaining medication should be returned to your pharmacy.
MYTH: Antibiotics will help cure colds and flu.
REALITY: Colds and flu - and the sore throats, aches and pains, chills, runny noses, watery eyes, and dry coughs that go with them - are caused by viruses. Infections caused by viruses do not respond to antibiotics. Antibiotics will only help if your illness is caused by a bacterial infection.
MYTH: I have become resistant to antibiotics.
REALITY: Actually, it's bacteria that develop resistance to antibiotics, not people. When bacteria become resistant, the antibiotic can no longer effectively inhibit or kill bacteria. Some people believe they won't develop resistance because they have either always taken their antibiotics as directed or have never had to take antibiotics. This is a serious misconception, because anyone can become infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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Antibiotics in Action | Antibiotic Resistance | Reducing the Problem of Antibiotic Resistance