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Consumer Information

Antibiotics do not cure viral infections. Viruses cause most common illnesses, such as bronchitis, coughs, colds, runny noses and sore throats. Many viral infections will get better in 7-10 days without taking an antibiotic. Antibiotics are only helpful when used to treat a bacterial infection and when taken exactly as prescribed. Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking antibiotics.


  • Don't ask for antibiotics if you have a viral infection
    like a cold or the flu.
  • Take the antibiotic exactly as the doctor tells you.
  • Take all of the medication, even if you feel better.
  • Do not save some of your antibiotic for the next time you
    are sick.
  • Do not take an antibiotic that is prescribed for someone
  • Talk with your doctor about antibiotic resistance and ask
    what else you can do to feel better sooner.

Educational Information

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Antibiotic Resistance Fact Sheet

Cough & Cold Shopping List

Germbuster Poster

Get Smart Brochure

Get Smart Flyer

Stop the Spread

What You Need to Know About Colds, the Flu and Antibiotics Brochure

Virginia Department of Health
Office of Epidemiology
109 Governor Street, Suite 516 East
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: 804-864-8141 - Fax: 804-864-8139

Last Updated: 07-30-2011

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