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Source: adapted from an article on the Centers for Disease and Control website.

Did you know that antibiotics do not help fight viruses?

Taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. If you Have a cold or flu, antibiotics will not work.

Antibiotics are supposed to kill bacteria, not viruses such as:

Colds or flu

Most coughs and bronchitis

Sore throats not caused by strep

Runny noses

Taking antibiotics for viral infections, such as a cold, cough, the flu, or most bronchitis

Antibiotics will not:

Cure the infections

Keep other individuals from catching the illness

Help you feel better

Dangers of antibiotic resistance:

Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world's most pressing public health problems. It can cause significant danger and suffering for people who have common infections that once were easily treatable with antibiotics. When antibiotics fail to work, the consequences are longer-lasting illnesses; more doctor visits or extended hospital stays; and the need for more expensive and toxic medications. Some resistant infections can cause death.

Taking antibiotics for viral infections will increase the risk of antibiotic resistance. Tens of millions of antibiotics prescribed in doctors' offices each year are for viral infections, which cannot effectively be treated with antibiotics. Doctors cite diagnostic uncertainty, time pressure on physicians, and patient demand as the primary reasons why antibiotics are over prescribed.

The spread of viral infections can be reduced through frequent hand washing and by avoiding close contact with others.

Example of antibiotic resistance:

Today penicillin is not really used any more. The reason? bacteria are no longer affected by it because they have developed resistance to it.

In 1946, about 88% of Staphylococcus infections could be cured by penicillin.

By 1950, only 61% of staph infections could be killed by penicillin

In 1982, fewer than 10% of staph cases could be cured by penicillin.

Today it is less than 5%.

The same goes for all other antibiotics that are used. There will come a time when they are no longer effective.

People who rely a lot on antibiotics tend to get lots of recurring infections and illnesses. The body will be able to deal with that itself and thereby develop natural immunity.

We including children need to be sick sometimes. That's how we build our immune defenses naturally. It's fine to get the cold once in a while. It gives the body a chance to use its own powers of defense, like fever, inflammation, coughing, and swelling. These symptoms are not the actual illness. They are signs that the body is successfully attempting to restore its balance. To attack the symptoms with medication is to fight the body itself and make it that much more difficult to return to a normal health state. A body allowed to heal itself will be far more resilient, and more resistant in the future.

So now you know to think twice about using antibiotics. I hope.

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