Antibiotics are drugs that are designed to kill harmful bacteria in your body. Antibiotics only cure bacterial infections; they do not cure viral infections like a cold, the flu, or a runny nose. It is important to remember that taking antibiotics may increase your risk of getting an antibiotic-resistant infection later.
Antibiotic-resistant infections happen when bacteria in your body stop responding to the antibiotics meant to kill them. This phenomenon is called antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria survive and multiply, causing more harm to the infected person. These bacteria can also share their resistant traits with other bacteria.
As a patient, it is important to remember that antibiotics do not cure viral infections like a cold or the flu. If you are concerned about antibiotic resistance, talk to your doctor to see if there are other options that may help you feel better without antibiotics. If you are prescribed antibiotics, follow your doctor’s instructions completely and continue taking your antibiotics a prescribed, even after you start to feel better.