Why you should not use antibiotics to treat viral infections

If you have a fever, you pop a paracetamol.

If you have body pain, you pop a painkiller.

But if you have a cough and cold and a sore throat, popping an antibiotic might NOT be a good idea.

Not just adults, many parents also prefer giving their kids antibiotics for fever and other common illness like a cough and fever. But they are not aware that antibiotics are not the go-to medications for common childhood infections. The bottom line is you should not use antibiotics to treat viral infections. Wondering why? Here are the reasons.

#1. The reason being antibiotics are medications that are used to treat bacterial infection and not viral infections. Most of the common infections like flu, sore throat coupled with fever or cold and cough might be due to a virus, not bacteria. Hence, these infections do not require antibiotics to be treated but need medications for the symptoms to subside. Here are few things you should keep in mind when you are on antibiotics.

#2. As the symptoms of bacterial infections and viral infections are the same, taking antibiotics for viral diseases can further worsen the condition. Unlike a bacterial infection, a viral infection is a self-limiting condition that subsides within a week. However, if it doesn’t then do consult a doctor to know the underlying cause of it and get treated.

#3. If you tend to use antibiotics for every condition under the roof including viral infections, it won’t provide any relief. But on the other hand, it can lead to antibiotic resistance. This means that the next time you have a bacterial infection, you might need a higher dose or different antibiotic medication for the condition to be treated. Hence, antibiotics must only be taken when you know that the symptoms are due to a bacterial infection and not viral infection. Here are few ways Indians are overusing antibiotics and why they should stop right away!

#4. Antibiotics destroy not only the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria in your gut. The good bacteria is needed by the gut for digestion and better immunity. Find out how gut bacteria can affect your health.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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