Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Antibiotics are strong medicines that can stop some infections and save lives. But antibiotics can cause more harm than good when they are not used the right way. Dr. Edward Hill discusses when antibiotics should be used in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Antibiotics only work against infections caused by bacteria. They do not work against infections caused by viruses. Viruses cause colds, the flu, and most coughs and sore throats.

Dont expect antibiotics to cure every illness. Do not take antibiotics for viral illnesses like colds or the flu. The best thing you can do is let colds and the flu run their course.

Whether or not you need antibiotics depends on what is causing your infection. Colds and flu cannot be cured with antibiotics.

Viruses almost always cause cough or bronchitis and most sore throats are caused by viruses and should not be treated with antibiotics. Strep throat is caused by bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics.

Most ear infections in adults and older children will get better without antibiotics.

Antibiotics are sometimes used to treat sinus infections that are caused by bacteria. However, a runny nose and yellow or green mucus may be caused by a cold virus and do not always mean you need an antibiotic.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.