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.

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.

Last Updated: