How You Can Help Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

Armen Hareyan's picture

Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold, a cough or the flu.

Take an antibiotic exactly as the doctor tells you. Do not skip doses. Complete the prescribed course of treatment, even if you are feeling better.

Do not save any antibiotics for the next time you get sick. Discard any leftover medication once you have completed your prescribed course of treatment.

Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. The antibiotic may not be appropriate for your illness. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.

Antibiotic prescriptions in outpatient settings can be reduced dramatically - without adversely affecting patient health - by not prescribing antibiotics for viral illnesses, such as colds, most sore throats, coughs, bronchitis, and the flu.


Parents should not demand antibiotics when a health care provider has determined they are not needed.

Parents should talk with their health care provider about antibiotic resistance.

Parents should not give their children antibiotics for a viral infection like a cold, a cough, or the flu. Antibiotics should be used only to treat bacterial infections.

Parents should ensure that their children take all medication as prescribed, even if symptoms disappear. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Infectious Diseases
Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases