7 Dangerous Myths about Antibiotics

You’ve probably used antibiotics many times over the years to treat different illnesses and infections. But some of your beliefs about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance may be false.

When the World Health Organization (WHO) surveyed around 10,000 people in 12 different countries, they found that antibiotic resistance misunderstandings were common in all countries. These misconceptions can lead to poor choices that may harm your health. That’s why you need to keep the myths below in mind when making any decision about antibiotics.

Myth #1 You can stop taking antibiotics when you feel better.

Have you ever stopped taking antibiotics before finishing the prescribed doses because you felt better? Well, you’re not alone. In the WHO report, 32 percent of the people surveyed thought it was okay to stop taking antibiotics once they felt better.

When you stop early, your infection may recur, because it may not be fully treated. Always finish the prescribed doses even when you feel better.

Myth #2 Antibiotics are good for treating colds.

Some consider antibiotics the cure-all for all infections, but the truth is antibiotics only work against bacterial, fungal and some parasitic infections. They don’t work against viral infections, such as colds and flu.

Myth #3 You should take antibiotics to prevent infections.

While taking antibiotics may help prevent frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs), it’s not advisable to take them when you don’t have an infection.

According to the Mayo Clinic, misusing antibiotics increases the risk of antibiotic resistance. Avoid taking antibiotics when you are well.

Myth #4 It’s OK to take leftover antibiotics.

Taking leftover antibiotics is risky, because you don’t know if you’re taking the right antibiotic for the infection you have. Additionally, some antibiotics, especially liquids, lose potency over time.

Instead of keeping antibiotics in your home, get a precise prescription from your doctor.

Myth #5 Antibiotic resistance makes your body not respond to antibiotics.

Seventy-six percent of the respondents in the WHO report thought that antibiotic resistance occurs when the body stops responding to antibiotics. It’s really the bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics. As a result, they multiply and spread illnesses.

Myth #6 You can’t lower the risk of antibiotic resistance

You have more control over antibiotic resistance than you may know. You can lower your risk by avoiding the misuse of antibiotics. Don’t use leftover antibiotics or use antibiotics prescribed for another person.

Maintaining good hygiene can also help prevent antibiotic-resistant infections.

Myth #7 Antibiotic resistance only occurs among those who take antibiotics regularly.

While it’s true that the misuse of antibiotics increases your risk of antibiotic resistance, we are all at risk. You can catch an infection that’s resistant to antibiotics even if you never take antibiotics.

Which of these myths about antibiotics do you see being spread around?

Image via Getty


Ardelia Amanda
Ardelia Amanda24 days ago

thank you

Anna R
Anna R4 months ago

Thank you

Mike R
Mike R4 months ago


Marija M
Marija M4 months ago

tks for sharing this info...

Chrissie R
Chrissie R4 months ago

Factual information instead of social media hype??? Wow! That doesn't happen nearly often enough.

Paula A
Past Member 4 months ago

thanks for posting

RK R4 months ago

All true and interesting. Thank you Brian. Bleach is a relatively inexpensive and highly effective disinfectant. It kills staphylococcus, streptococcus, E. coli and salmonella – as well as viruses like the flu and the common cold.

Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago


Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago


Leo C
Leo C4 months ago

Thank you for sharing!