Antibiotic use

Antibiotic use

Antibiotics are used to fight bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, impetigo, ear infections and strep throat. Many common infections are caused by viruses and do not respond to antibiotics. If an antibiotic is needed, you should see improvement within 48 hours.

It is believed that antibiotics are used too much, many times for infections that would go away on their own. Sometimes, a strong antibiotic is used to treat an infection when a less strong one would have worked.

What happens is that bacteria adapt to the antibiotics and develop a resistance to them so health care providers need to use stronger antibiotics to treat infections that could once be treated with weaker antibiotics. The result is costlier health care for you, pharmacies and insurance companies.

Antibiotics can save lives when used correctly.

They should only be prescribed when they are truly needed. This will help prevent bacteria from becoming antibiotic-resistant.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5, sixth edition, ped-ah-91554
First Published: 02/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 11/16/2022