Use antibiotics wisely; talk with your health care provider about the right medicines for your health.
Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Viral illnesses cannot be treated with antibiotics. When an antibiotic is not prescribed, ask your health care professional for tips on how to relieve symptoms and feel better.
Antibiotics: When You Need Them and When You Don't | Choosing Wisely
Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer—Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
- Take the antibiotic exactly as the doctor prescribes, even if you start to feel better. Do not skip doses or stop taking an antibiotic early unless your doctor tells you to do so.
- Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics treat specific types of infections. Taking the wrong medicine may delay treatment and allow bacteria to grow.
- Do not save antibiotics for the next illness or infection. Get rid of any leftover medicine once the prescribed course of treatment is completed.
- Prevent infections, including antibiotic-resistant infections, by practicing good hand hygiene and getting recommended vaccines.
- Do not ask for antibiotics when your doctor thinks you do not need them.
- Remember antibiotics have side effects. When you doctor says you don’t need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good.
It is important to practice appropriate disposal of unused pharmaceuticals to avoid releasing antibiotics and other drugs into the environment.
For example, one should not flush unused antibiotics down the toilet.