Experts identify when to take antibiotics, and when not to

Experts identify when to take antibiotics, and when not to

Originally published on KTUU

When you get sick, you usually want something to help you feel better. In some cases, that means antibiotics, but experts urge caution due to something called antibiotic resistance.

In this week's 2 Your Health, Medical Epidemiologist Michelle Rothoff talked about common misconceptions surrounding antibiotics.

She said using an antibiotic when it's not needed can cause you to have resistance to it over time and that they're only good for bacterial infections. Rothoff said you should also not take antibiotics that are not prescribed to you.

"One is that antibiotic may not be the right treatment for the infection that you have. It can make your infection more difficult to diagnose and eventually to treat and that antibiotic may not be safe for you if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other medications," Rothoff said.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing and serious health problem. It's estimated about 2 million people get sick in the U.S. every year with infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria. If you're prescribed them, it's important you finish them.

"The reason for that is if you miss doses or stop early, your infection may not be adequately treated and it also can contribute to the rise in resistant bacteria," said Rothoff.

A common illnesses list can be found online, which the CDC says you may not need to be taking antibiotics for. 

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