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.
Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer
|Illness||Usual Cause||Antibiotic Needed|
|Bronchitis/Chest Cold (in otherwise healthy children and adults)||Yes||No||No|
|Chest Cold (in otherwise healthy children and adults)||Yes||No||No|
|Sore Throat (except strep)||Yes||No||No|
|Fluid in the Middle Ear (otitis media with effusion)||Yes||No||No|
|Urinary Tract Infection||No||Yes||Yes|
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Page last reviewed: April 17, 2015
- Page last updated: April 17, 2015
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