Do Antibiotics Treat Flu?

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The flu season is upon us! Are you ready?

According to the CDC, 5 to 20% of the US population will get the flu every year. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. When diagnosed with the flu, adults and kids are sometimes prescribed antibiotics with an antiviral medication. Antibiotics do not treat the flu because it is viral, so they should only be prescribed for secondary bacterial infections that sometimes can occur with the flu. This mostly occurs in people that are immunocompromised or have multiple chronic conditions making them prone to developing secondary infections.

Most healthy people with a strong immune system can fight the flu and usually do not develop secondary bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics without a bacterial infection cause resistance, side effects, and disrupt the microbiome which is important for overall health. The flu will resolve on its own with or without antiviral medications in 7-10 days. The key is to rest, hydrate, treat the symptoms, and boost the immune system.

I want to bring awareness because antibiotic resistance is becoming more and more common. Do not take antibiotics for prevention or just in case, unless your provider says you have an secondary bacterial infection. Please share with your family and friends.

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