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I’m sick, but my provider won’t prescribe me an antibiotic, why not?
You may be frustrated that you spent time seeing a provider, but it is important to realize that not all infections require antibiotics. Seeing your provider reassures nothing more serious is going on. Antibiotics fight infections caused by bacteria; they do not treat infections caused by viruses. Some infections caused by viruses include colds, flu, most sore throats and bronchitis. Even some sinus and ear infections are caused by viruses and will resolve without antibiotics.
If an antibiotic is prescribed for a viral infection it could cause unnecessary side effects and reduce antibiotic effectiveness for future infections. Treatment for most viral infections is fluids, rest and over-the-counter products. Ask your provider or pharmacist which products may help your symptoms. Only use antibiotics as directed by your provider and do not save or share antibiotics with others.
Colleen Losey, PharmD, BCPS
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