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When do I need an antibiotic if I have a cold?

You do not need an antibiotic if you have a cold. A cold is caused by a virus, and antibiotics do not help this kind of infection. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks and you have developed other symptoms such as a high fever, shortness of breath or intensifying pain, it is possible your cold has progressed to a bacterial infection. Your doctor may choose to prescribe antibiotics at that point.

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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.