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Antibiotics Not Needed for Common Cold or Flu

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My daughter has a bad cold, so I took her to the doctor, but he did not give her any antibiotics.



Dear Why,

Antibiotics kill bacteria, but not viruses such as the common cold or flu. Someone with a cold or flu will get better in a few days to a week. There is a saying that colds will get better in a week with antibiotics or 7 days without it.

However, it is best to not prescribe antibiotics if they are not needed. Over-prescribing antibiotics has caused antibiotic resistant bacteria or Superbugs. When this happens, antibiotics become less effective or ineffective in treating the conditions for what they were intended.