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Be Antibiotic Aware

Winter is right around the corner, and along with it comes a variety of winter illnesses. As doctors’ offices and emergency rooms fill with patients who are seeking relief, Margaret Mary Health reminds the community that taking antibiotics may not be an effective treatment for every illness.

“Any time antibiotics are taken, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance,” said MMH infection prevention coordinator Deanna Youngman. “This means the bacteria in your body can become resistant to them, making future infections harder to treat.”

Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria. These include pneumonia, strep throat, whooping cough and most urinary tract infections. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as colds, flu and runny noses, as well as some common bacterial infections like bronchitis, many sinus infections and some ear infections.

Not only are antibiotics ineffective in treating viruses, they can also lead to a number of side effects, including rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea and more serious side effects like Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and allergic reactions.

“At Margaret Mary, our healthcare providers are committed to providing the best possible treatment for your condition,” said Youngman. “If an antibiotic is not needed, we will provide a treatment plan to help you feel better and get relief from your symptoms.”

To learn more about antibiotic prescribing and use, visit