Antibiotic Resistance: Questions & Answers
- What are bacteria and viruses?
- What kinds of infections are caused by viruses and should not be treated with antibiotics?
- What is an antibiotic?
- What is antibiotic resistance?
- Why should I be concerned about antibiotic resistance?
- Why are bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics?
- How do bacteria become resistant to antibiotics?
- How can I prevent antibiotic-resistant infections?
- What about antibacterial-containing products?
- Do probiotics have a role in resistance or resistant infections?
What are bacteria and viruses?
Bacteria are single-celled organisms usually found all over the inside and outside of our bodies, except in the blood and spinal fluid. Many bacteria are not harmful. In fact, some are actually beneficial. However, disease-causing bacteria trigger illnesses, such as strep throat and some ear infections. Viruses are even smaller than bacteria. A virus cannot survive outside the body's cells. It causes illnesses by invading healthy cells and reproducing.
What kinds of infections are caused by viruses and should not be treated with antibiotics?
Viral infections that should not be treated with antibiotics include:
- Most coughs and bronchitis
- Sore throats (except for those resulting from strep throat)
- Some ear infections
Next: What is an antibiotic?
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