Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer: Chart
Viruses or bacteria - what's got you sick? Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Viral illnesses cannot be treated with antibiotics. When an antibiotic is not prescribed, ask your healthcare professional for tips on how to relieve symptoms and feel better. If you have a cold, runny nose, bronchitis, chest cold, flu, sore throat (except strep) or fluid in the middle ear, it is most likely caused by a virus and does not require an antibiotic. If you have whooping cough or strep throat, it is most likely caused by bacteria and needs antibiotics.
- Page last reviewed: August 28, 2014
- Page last updated: August 28, 2014
- Content source:
- National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Bacterial Diseases and Division of Viral Diseases
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs