are used to treat infections caused by bacteria (e.g. strep throat,
some sinus infections, urinary tract infections). They will not
treat any illness caused by a virus (e.g. a cold, the flu, coughs
and sore throats). Using antibiotics unnecessarily or not according
to the directions could allow your body to develop a resistant
strain of bacteria. That means that the bacteria will change in
response to a drug and become much more difficult to kill. And
that means you could be limiting your treatment options.
If you get a prescription to an antibiotic, read the directions
and take the medicine as prescribed. That means no skipping, forgetting,
or cutting short. Ask your provider what your “course” for
the antibiotic is. A course is how long you need to take the medicine,
and it is usually accomplished by finishing your prescription.
Even if you feel better, you still need to take your antibiotic.
Cutting your course short could contribute to a resistant strain
of bacteria. Sometimes you might be able to find an antibiotic
without a prescription, either on the web or from a friend. This
is a bad idea. Remember that antibiotics are serious medications
that should only be prescribed by a provider in appropriate situations.
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