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Antibiotics

Health NewsAntibiotics are an essential weapon in the war against disease. But it's important to remember that an antibiotic is not a cure-all.

For one thing, antibiotics do not fight infections caused by a virus; they work only against infections caused by bacteria. (Read about "Microorganisms") That means that if someone has a simple cold, without any further complications, an antibiotic won't be much help. (Read about "The Common Cold") In fact, if an antibiotic is used too often, bacteria can actually become resistant to it. A case in point is the recent upsurge of antibiotic resistant staph infections. (Read about "Staph & MRSA")

That's why it's so important to use antibiotics correctly. Here are some basic guidelines from the American Academy of Family Physicians:

Talk with your doctor

If your doctor does prescribe antibiotics, here are some suggestions from the American Medical Association:

Antibiotics can be taken by mouth, in pill form or liquid, applied as a cream or placed directly in the blood stream intravenously via what is called infusion. Infusion therapy is the term often used to describe the administration of medication - such as antibiotics or other drugs - through a needle or catheter. (Read about "Infusion Therapy")

As with any drug, you should never take an antibiotic that was prescribed for someone else or that was prescribed for a previous illness.

A doctor bases his decision to prescribe antibiotics on several things, including your symptoms and your lab test results. If you have any questions or concerns about antibiotics or any medication, it's best to discuss them with a qualified healthcare professional.

All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.

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By printing and/or reading this article, you agree that you accept all terms and conditions of use, as specified online.