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Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer

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Chart of Illnesses and Antibiotics Needed or Not Needed

Chart of common conditions and whether or not antibiotics are needed

  • Strep throat: Caused by bacteria. Antibiotic needed.
  • Whooping cough: Caused by bacteria. Antibiotic needed.
  • Urinary tract infection: Commonly caused by bacteria. Antibiotic needed.
  • Sinus infection: Commonly caused by bacteria or a virus. Antibiotic may be needed.
  • Middle ear infection: Commonly caused by bacteria or a virus. Antibiotic may be needed.
  • Bronchitis/chest cold (in otherwise healthy children and adults)*: Commonly caused by bacteria or a virus. Antibiotic not needed.
  • Common cold/runny nose: Caused by a virus. Antibiotic not needed.
  • Sore throat (except strep): Commonly caused by a virus. Antibiotic not needed.
    • Flu: Caused by a virus. Antibiotic not needed.

*Studies show that in otherwise healthy children and adults, antibiotics for bronchitis won’t help you feel better.

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