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Yahoo Life: What Everyone Should Know About Antibiotics, According to Experts

Yahoo Life recently interviewed Cedars-Sinai pharmacist Hai Tran, PharmD, director of Drug Use Policy, about when to take antibiotics, when to avoid them and why it’s important to finish the entire course of these powerful drugs when they’re prescribed.

Tran told Yahoo Life that antibiotics either kill bacteria or prevent their growth and spread. She emphasized that antibiotics do not work against viruses, a common misconception. People may sometimes think they need antibiotics when they’re actually battling a nasty cold or flu.

“The confusion always comes up around wintertime because of the flu,” Tran told Yahoo Life. “The flu is caused by a virus.”

Tran explained that sometimes a viral infection can turn into a bacterial infection and then an antibiotic might be needed. This can happen if the cold or flu lasts more than a week with a lingering fever, which can impact the good bacteria in the body and turn into a “super infection.”

Tran told Yahoo Life that it’s important to use antibiotics as directed and to finish the entire course.

“Let’s say you stopped too soon because you felt better—you felt better because the antibiotic killed most of the bacteria at that time,” Tran told Yahoo Life. “But if you stop at that time, some bacteria have not completely been killed and they’ll start to grow again. What could happen is that these bacteria will start figuring out ways to fight that particular antibiotic. It can lead to resistance. And now we find out the antibiotic no longer works.”

Click here to read the complete article from Yahoo Life.