Viruses vs. Bacteria

What’s got you sick?

Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Viral illnesses cannot be treated with antibiotics. Whether you’re suffering from a viral illness or a bacterial infection, that will determine the best treatment method. When an antibiotic is not prescribed, ask your healthcare professional for tips on how to relive symptoms and feel better.

The following are usually a virus and no antibiotic is needed for treatment:

  • Cold/Runny Nose
  • Bronchitis/Chest Cold (in otherwise healthy children and adults)
  • Flu
  • Sore Throat (except strep)
  • Fluid in the Middle Ear (otitis media with effusion)

These are usually bacteria infections, where antibiotics are necessary:

  • Whooping Cough
  • Strep Throat
  • Urinary Tract Infection

Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. For more information on the differences between viruses and bacteria talk with your doctor, or visit the CDC’s website.

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