Antibiotic Awareness


Antibiotics aren't always the answer.


Why does taking antibiotics lead to antibiotic resistance?

Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public's health.

Always Remember:

  1. Antibiotic resistance does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antibiotics, it is that bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotics designed to kill them.
  2. When bacteria become resistant, antibiotics cannot fight them, and the bacteria multiply.
  3. Some resistant bacteria can be harder to treat and can spread to other people.

When antibiotics aren't needed, they won't help you, and the side effects could still hurt you. Reactions from antibiotics cause 1 out of 5 medication-related visits to the ER. In children, reactions from antibiotics are the most common cause of medication-related ER visits.

Each year in the United States, at least 2.8 million people get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. More than 35,000 people die as a result.

What do antibiotics treat?


Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics are critical tools for treating common infections, such as pneumonia, and for life-threatening conditions including sepsis, the body's extreme response to an infection.


Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as colds and flu, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow or green. Antibiotics also won't help some common bacterial infections including most cases of bronchitis, many sinus infections, and some ear infections.


What is the right way to take antibiotics?

If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed.

Improving the way healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics, and the way we take antibiotics, helps fight antibiotic resistance, and ensures that these life-saving drugs will be available for future generations.

Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about your antibiotics, or if you develop any side effects, especially diarrhea, since that could be Clostridium difficile infection (also called C. difficile or C. diff), which needs to be treated. C. diff can lead to severe colon damage and death.

What are the side effects?

Common side effects range from minor to very severe health problem and can include:

  • Rash
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Yeast Infections

More serious side effects can include:

  • Clostridum difficile infection
  • Severe and life threatening allergic reactions

A Commitment To Our Patients

Antibiotics only fight infections caused by bacteria. Like all drugs, they can be harmful and should only be used when necessary. Taking antibiotics when you have a virus can do more harm than good: you will still feel sick and the antibiotic could give you a skin rash, diarrhea, a yeast infection, or worse.

Antibiotics also give bacteria a chance to become more resistant to them. This can make future infections harder to treat. It means that antibiotics might not work when you really do need them. Because of this, it is important that you only use an antibiotic when it is necessary to treat your illness.

How can you help? When you have a cough, sore throat, or other illness, tell your doctor you only want an antibiotic if it is really necessary. If you are not prescribed an antibiotic, ask what you can do to feel better and get relief from your symptoms.

Your health is important to us. As your healthcare providers, we promise to provide the best possible treatment for your condition. If an antibiotic is not needed, we will explain this to you and will offer a treatment plan that will help. We are dedicated to prescribing antibiotics only when they are needed, and we will avoid giving you antibiotics when they might do more harm than good.



All content has been provided by the CDC and Department of Health and Human Services. To learn more about antibiotic prescribing and use, visit the CDC's website.