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Why can taking antibiotics sometimes be harmful?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Antibiotics-when taken for viral infection-can actually have a negative effect by killing only the susceptible bacteria and allowing the more dangerous resistant strains to gain a stronger foothold. This can contribute to the big societal problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

It also reinforces the point that you shouldn't pester your doctor for antibiotics if he or she tells you that your condition is caused by a virus. While taking a pill may have some sort of placebo effect and make you feel better, it's actually not helping you-and may even harm you, unless you get a bacterial infection on top of your viral one.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.