Antibiotics are powerful drugs that are designed to kill or slow the growth of bacteria. When used improperly bacteria develop and become resistant to antibiotics used to treat them. According to the CDC over 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and of those over 23,000 die.

Antibiotics aren’t always needed.  But how do you know when they are and when they aren’t? If you are going to see your doctor with the mindset that an antibiotic is the cure-all for your illness you’re only hurting yourself. While you think it might be a good idea to research a potential diagnosis considering your symptoms – it’s best to leave it to a professional. When you visit with your primary care provider you should outline all of your symptoms, and your PCP will conduct the necessary tests to determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

If you go into your PCP’s office asking for an antibiotic and they oblige when an antibiotic won’t improve your symptoms it is only entering your system and allowing the bacteria within your system to build up immunity to it – so that when you are prescribed one and actually need it – it can’t do its job.

Use the chart below to help you determine if an antibiotic will help you, or if a little time and rest will do the trick!