Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer

While advertisements and marketing may lead us to believe that there's a pill to cure everything, it is not at all true. In fact, using antibiotics when they aren't needed may lead to serious health consequences in the future.

When our children are sick and miserable, suffering with a cold, cough or an ear infection, our impulse is to do what we can to help. This usually means a trip to the doctor, demanding medicine to make the illness go away. Unfortunately,  colds, many upper respiratory infections and some ear infections are caused by viruses― not bacteria― so antibiotics are not effective.

Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat life-threatening bacterial disease. By using them when they aren't necessary, we are helping bacteria learn how to outsmart or resist antibiotics. If antibiotics are used too often for things they can't treat, they may stop working effectively against bacteria when you or your child really needs them.

Antibiotic resistance is now one of the world's most pressing public health threats. Patients (and parents) must work together with the healthcare community to end the widespread overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics employ safe and effective strategies for improving antibiotic use—protecting health and ultimately saving lives.

  • Last updated: 06/21/2013
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