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Tips on Antibiotics

Dr. Kendrick Adnan, Urgent Care Medical Director, Miles Henson, PA-C, and Sara Striegl, Patient Advocate

When you are a loved one is sick, you want immediate relief. While antibiotics might be a quick fix for certain illnesses, they are not recommended for all conditions and can sometimes be counterproductive to healing. 

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. They do not heal viral infections like the flu or common cold. Antibiotics may destroy the good bacteria in your body or increase bacterial resistance, which can increase the risk for other issues like C. diff, diarrhea, yeast infections, or severe antibiotic resistant infections in the future. The following chart helps patients understand when antibiotics would be recommended, and when they would not. 


When do you really need antibiotics?

Type of Illness Virus Bacteria Antibiotics given?
Cold or Runny Nose Yes - No
Ear Infection Yes Yes As determined by provider
Flu Yes - No
Fluid in middle ear Yes - No
Sinus Infection (exceeding 10 days) Yes Yes As determined by provider
Sore Throat (except strep) Yes - No
Strep Throat - Yes Yes
Urinary Tract Infection - Yes Yes

If antibiotics are prescribed, patients should take the following precautions. 
Do Do Not
Take as instructed by your health care provider. Skip doses.
Only take the medications that are prescribed to you. Share your prescribed medications with others.
Prevent infections by washing your hands. Insist on receiving an antibiotic prescription if you provider doesn't think it's necessary

Check out our downloadable antibiotic tip sheet!