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Antibiotics 101 (video)
May 15, 2001

Also on ScienCentral News

Immunization Misinformation - Are vaccines really safe and necessary? (9/5/00)

The Day the Drugs Stop Working - Resistance to antibiotics is an emerging problem. (5/10/99)

Elsewhere on the web

Archived CDC Video Webcast: Antibiotic Resistance Press Conference (April 17, 2001) - A National Dialogue on Antibiotic Resistance Risks and Solutions

APUA (Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics)

Antimicrobial Resistance Factsheet - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Agricultural Use of Antibiotics - Environmental Media Services

The Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Infections - FDA Consumer report

With concerns over antibiotic resistant bacteria on the rise, do you know when you should and should not take the drugs?

As this ScienCentral News video report shows, a researcher found that most college students don’t know as much about antibiotics as they think.

Quiz: Test your antibiotic IQ

(Answers below)

1. True or False: Antibiotics (like penicillin or amoxicillin) cure coughs, colds, flu and sore throats caused by any kind of germ.

2. The common cold is caused by a) bacteria, b) a virus, c) both bacteria and viruses.

3. If you have a virus (such as bronchitis or a cold), taking antibiotics will a) help you get better faster, b) make no difference in how long it takes you to get well, c) increase the chance that you will become infected with "antibiotic-resistant" bacteria (superbugs).

4. True or False: Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them can make them less effective when you do need them.


1. False. Antibiotics only work on illnesses caused by bacteria—like strep throat, sinus infections, and middle ear infections. Antibiotics can’t cure illnesses caused by viruses—like colds, flu, coughs and bronchitis.

2. B. A virus.

3. B and C. Antibiotics aren’t designed to kill viruses, so taking them when you have a cold or bronchitis will not help you get better faster. Even worse, using antibiotics when they aren’t needed increases your chance of getting an infection with "antibiotic-resistant bacteria."

4. True. When antibiotics are used when they aren’t needed, bacteria can develop ways to fight off the medicine. These germs are called "antibiotic-resistant bacteria" or "superbugs," and can cause illnesses that are much harder to cure.

Quiz courtesy The Alliance Employer Health Care Cooperative and the Wisconsin Antibiotic Resistance Network (WARN)

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