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Antibiotics can’t kill the common cold

Antibiotic Awareness Week November 12-18, 2018

information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (November 13, 2018) – Up to 50 percent of all prescribed antibiotics are not needed or are not effective as prescribed. Each year in the United States, at least two million people become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 die.

“Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria no longer respond to the drugs designed to kill them,” said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are much deadlier and more difficult to treat. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can cause side effects such as rashes, nausea, diarrhea, yeast infections, and dizziness. It can also lead to antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.”

To help stop the misuse of antibiotics, IDPH is leading the statewide Precious Drugs & Scary Bugs Campaign to promote appropriate antibiotic use in doctors’ offices. During Antibiotic Awareness Week, IDPH urges people to educate themselves, their families, and their communities about antibiotic resistance. Improving the way healthcare providers prescribe antibiotics, and how people take them, will help fight antibiotic resistance. Preventing antibiotic resistance will help ensure these lifesaving drugs will continue to work in the future.

Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green. And taking antibiotics will not make you feel better if you have a virus. Antibiotics are needed only for treating infections caused by bacteria, but even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics, including many sinus infections and some ear infections.

How you can help prevent antibiotic resistance

  • Ask your healthcare provider if there are other steps you can take to feel better without using an antibiotic.
  • Do not ask for antibiotics when your healthcare provider thinks you do not need them.
  • Take the antibiotics exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
  • Stay up to date on your recommended vaccines to help prevent illness.
  • Wash your hands regularly to stop the spread of disease.

Illnesses that DO respond to antibiotics

Illnesses caused by bacteria, including:

  • Strep Throat
  • Tuberculosis
  • Whooping Cough
  • Urinary Tract Infection

Illnesses that MIGHT respond to antibiotics

Illnesses that might be caused by either bacteria or virus, including:

  • Bronchitis
  • Ear Infection
  • Sinus Infection

Illnesses that do NOT respond to antibiotics

Illnesses caused by viruses, including:

  • Flu
  • Colds
  • Sore Throat

More information about Antibiotics Awareness Week can be found here:



Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.