Should I give my child antibiotics for a viral infection?

Antibiotics should not be given for viral infections. Antibiotics are effective against bacteria. However, they are not effective against viruses, which are a different type of organism. Taking antibiotics will not help a viral infection and put the person at risk for worse bacterial infections in the future. Viral infections should be treated with supportive care such as rest and fluids or medicines to help control the symptoms such as cold medicines or cough medicines.

Remember: Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viruses. Don't push your pediatrician for an antibiotic if the doc says that your child has a virus. That will only increase the chances that she'll become infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain.

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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.