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Colds and flus - antibiotics

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Alternative Names   

Antibiotics - colds and flu

Definition    Return to top

Colds and flus are NOT cured by antibiotics.

Information    Return to top

Antibiotics will fight bacterial infections, but do not treat viral infections like colds and the flu. So unless you have a bacterial infection, do NOT take antibiotics. Antibiotics can wipe out normal bacteria that live in your body. This can result in symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and vaginal yeast infections.

Further, the overuse of antibiotics has contributed to the rise in drug-resistant bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics also poses a risk of allergic reactions, so they should not be taken when there is no possible benefit.

If you are suffering from a viral infection, antibiotics will NOT make you better.

Update Date: 7/24/2008

Updated by: Rachel A Lewis, MD, FAAP, Columbia University Pediatric Faculty Practice, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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