Myths and Facts About Antibiotics

Antibiotics save lives by eliminating infections that are difficult or even impossible to cure any other way. But they aren’t foolproof. Actually, they can cause serious health issues when used incorrectly. And because many people just buy into common misconceptions about antibiotics, here we debunk myths and give real facts about antibiotics.

Myth 1. Antibiotics are the answer to every illness.
Fact. Antibiotics are only helpful in illnesses caused by bacteria. You can always read detailed information at about common uses and specific types of bacteria this or that antibiotic is typically used for. Meanwhile, most illnesses, like sore throats and common colds, incited by viruses do not respond to antibiotics at all. Only if you aren’t better in 10 days, meaning that you may have developed a secondary bacterial infection, antibiotics are needed to help.

Myth 2. If you develop yellow or green mucus, it’s time for antibiotics.
Fact. At the beginning of almost all respiratory infections we have clear mucus that shows that we are at the most contagious stage. Then we go through a stage where the mucus turns darker and becomes yellow or green as it excretes large number of white blood cells that died fighting the illness. Such color of mucus shows that we begin to get over the disease.

Myth 3. Antibiotics are needed if fever starts.
Fact. Fever is the body’s defense against any infection. Even if your temperature is as high as 104 it can still be caused by viruses, which are not killed by antibiotics.

Myth 4. Antibiotics are worth taking just in case.
Fact. It’s no use taking antibiotics when there is not a bacterial illness. It will neither improve the course of the illness, nor will prevent a secondary bacterial infection. Moreover, antibiotics overuse may cause bacteria to become resistant to this class of drugs, making them harder to treat.

Myth 5. I am immune to weak antibiotics.
Fact. The goal of antibiotic treatment is to knock the bacterial infection down to the point at which our body can do the rest. This is the reason doctors prescribe Doxycycline to use first.