Safe use of antibiotics

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Antibiotics can help fight infections, but inappropriate use of antibiotics may lead to unwanted side effects. Using antibiotics inappropriately can cause bacteria to develop resistance and results in the antibiotics becoming less effective in the future.

Key points

  • Viruses are the most common cause of infections such as the common cold, the flu and most sore throats, in children.
  • Antibiotics do not treat viruses but do work to fight infections caused by bacteria such as strep throat and urinary tract infections.
  • Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem that causes people to have infections that are difficult to treat.
  • Using antibiotics properly, including the right antibiotic at the right dose for the right person, can help prevent antibiotic resistance.
  • Plain soaps and household cleaners are safer and just as effective as antibacterial ones for use at home.
  • Disposing of antibiotics properly (not in the garbage or water supply) is important to help stop the problem of antibiotic resistance.
Last updated: October 19th 2023