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Smarten Up About Antibiotics, CDC Urges
Date:11/19/2010

ed the FDA to recommend that farmers stop using antibiotics to promote growth in livestock.

To protect antibiotics' effectiveness, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Take the antibiotic exactly as prescribed, and finish it even if you start to feel better. That way, bacteria can't survive and re-infect you.
  • Throw out leftover antibiotics.
  • Don't ask your doctor for an antibiotic if you have a cold or the flu. They're caused by viruses, so antibiotics won't help.
  • If you think you have strep throat, ask to be tested. Only a test can tell if your sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection and thus requires an antibiotic.
  • Don't take an antibiotic prescribed for someone else. Taking the wrong medicine may delay the right treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.
  • If your child has an ear infection, watch and wait. This method is the best way to treat childhood ear infections, which are often caused by a virus, according to a new study published this week the Journal of the American Medical Association .

More information

For more about treating viruses, see the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Lauri Hicks, D.O., medical epidemiologist, and medical director, Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Arjun Srinivasan, M.D., associate director for health care-associated infection prevention programs, CDC; Philip Tierno, director, clinical microbiology and immunology, New York University Langone Medical Center, N.Y., N.Y.


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