Health Tip: Take Antibiotics Only When Needed

(HealthDay News) -- The more you take an antibiotic unnecessarily, the more likely bacteria can adapt and become resistant to the drug.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this advice to help prevent antibiotic resistance:

  • Ask your doctor whether you need an antibiotic to treat your illness.

  • Consider whether there are other ways to help you feel better that don't involve an antibiotic.

  • Never take an antibiotic to treat a viral infection, such as the flu or common cold. An antibiotic can only treat infections that are bacterial, not viral.

  • Always take an antibiotic exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Never skip a dose or stop taking it before your prescription is finished.

  • Never take an antibiotic that was prescribed for someone else.

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