Antibiotics are important medications that really help when we need them.
Most infections are caused by two main kinds of germs, bacteria and viruses. Antibiotics only cure infections caused by bacteria; they have no effect against infections caused by viruses, like a cold or the flu. Taking antibiotics for a cold or the flu is unnecessary and expensive.
Taking antibiotics when they're not needed can be harmful.
It can also cause a serious problem; antibiotic resistance.
We all have a role to play in preventing antimicrobial resistance. Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, industry, policy makers and the general public can work together to promote appropriate antimicrobial use – ultimately saving lives.