Antibiotic Myths and Facts

Antibiotics: 7 interesting myths and facts

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Do you know, wrong information about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance can cause life threatening outcomes? Yes, it’s true and already happening all around the world.

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According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

“Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 people die as a result.”

This statement is based on US data, but it can give you an idea that the how we are facing the same issue with antibiotics. It happens because of lack of knowledge and myths.

To reduce this, you must have knowledge about proper use of anti-biotics. We have already published an article on anti-biotic resistance. You must click here to know about it.

Lets start the myths and facts behind it,

1) Viral cold and flu can be treated by Antibiotics:

Cold and flu are viral infections and antibiotic works only for bacterial infection. Anti-viral drug should be used for viral cold and flu. Taking antibiotic in viral infection can lead to unwanted side effects and increased resistance

2) We should take antibiotic for any infection:

Antibiotic works only for bacterial infection and that too specific antibiotic for specific bacterial infection. For example, Beta lactamase inhibitors like amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, Sulfonamide antibiotics

3) Antibiotic resistance is person specific:

No, resistance is specific to specific type of bacteria, so be aware that an antibiotic can show resistance for you as well even if you have used it frequently. You can understand antibiotic resistance easily with the help of following image from CDC

Antibiotic resistance process

4) Antibacterial soaps are more effective than normal soaps:

FDA do not agree to this as there is no strong evidence provided by companies which prove that anti-bacterial soaps or liquids can prevent better than normal soaps. However, there are possibilities that most of the soaps contains Triclosan which can create resistance to some bacteria.

It has been found that hand wash is helpful to reduce infection because of removing dust and bacteria and not by killing or inhibiting bacteria. The ultimate goal of washing hands can be achieved by any normal soap or liquid.

5) Treatment of acne by antibiotic can lead to antibiotic resistance:

It is not only for acne but for any kind of treatment if you are taking antibiotic, it can cause resistance. So, it is very important to figure out the best treatment for you with your doctor.

6) Antibiotic can be avoided if feeling better:

As per Doctors NO, because if you will not complete the course of the antibiotic then few of the bacteria may remain alive and are able to cause the disease again. However, this is not proved anywhere but few scientists also believe taking the whole course may lead to resistance only. You can find more about it here

7) Leftover antibiotics can be taken by other person:

No, because it completely depends upon type of infection and severity of the disease. Action of antibiotic may vary person to person as well. So, if you take leftover antibiotics it may cause side effects and resistance.

CDC says,

“Antibiotics save lives, but any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance. About 30 percent of antibiotics, or 47 million prescriptions, are prescribed unnecessarily in doctors’ offices and emergency departments in the United States, which makes improving antibiotic prescribing and use a national priority.”

How to avoid antibiotic resistance?

You should follow the below points for a better use of antibiotics-

  • Take antibiotics as prescribed by your Doctor or HCP and try not to deviate
  • Immediately report/inform to your Doctor if you found any side effect or you feel antibiotic is not working on you
  • Do not take leftover antibiotics of your family member or friends.
  • Complete the course of antibiotic as suggested by your Doctor
  • Ask your Doctor/prescriber if you have bacterial infection or viral infection and which type of bacteria is causing the disease. Talking to your Doctor will improve your knowledge.
  • Please do not make self-diagnosis based on today’s famous adviser Dr. Google or someone else, who is not a Health Care Professional (HCP)

I hope this article will clear your doubts about antibiotics. You can comment below to know more about antibiotic resistance.

“Please share to spread the awareness”

Vinay Dubey

A Health care professional and Pharmacologist with an aim of sharing my knowledge about health and lifestyle to everyone. Specially, I want to empower people from non medical background, with the knowledge that how daily lifestyle and medicines can affects their health. Also, to let them know how they can play an important role in the life cycle of a medicine.


  1. It is really an enlightening article about anti-biotics.. because commonly there is a myth about antibiotics that it doesn’t have any side effects. So, people often eat them recklessly and even become self made MD by advising people to take antibiotics .
    Thanks for posting the article… I find this article gynx breaker for me..

    1. Hey Ananya, thanks for your appreciation. We are going to break many more myths in a row…

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