SpeakUp! - Antibiotics

Learn how to use antibiotics wisely.

Taking an antibiotic may kill good bacteria in your body.  Taking inappropriate antibiotics for an illness may create problems with loose stools and stomach issues.  If used properly, antibiotics are life-saving drugs.  Work with your primary care provider and listen to understand what will work best for your illness.

Listen to our Antibiotics podcast episode

Questions to ask when you are given an antibiotic:

  • Why do I need it?
  • What kind of infection do I have? Is this the best medication for it?
  • How long should I take it?
  • Will I get better without it?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Will it interact with other drugs?
  • How and when should I take it?


  • Take it exactly as your health care provider says
  • Take only the medications prescribed for you
  • Prevent infections by washing your hands and getting vaccinated


  • Skip doses
  • Share antibiotics with others
  • Insist on an antibiotic if your healthcare provider doesn’t think you should have one

Help spread the word.  Use antibiotics wisely.  WASH YOUR HANDS!

Take the Antibiotics Quiz

Answers are listed at the bottom of this page.

1.  What percentage of infections are spread by hands?

2.  True or False?  Antibiotics are best used to treat colds and flus?

3.  Whta is the best way to prevent infections?

4.  Name two usual side effects of antibiotic use.

5.  What happens if you continue to take antibiotics for illnesses when they are not needed?

6.  Superbugs (antibiotic resistant bacteria) account for how many illnesses each year?

7.  Superbugs account for how many deaths each year?

8.  How many doses of antibiotics are administered each day?


Answer Key:

  1. 80%
  2. False.  Antibiotics do not work on viral infections.
  3. Wash your hands with plain soap and water.
  4. Loose stools and upset stomach.
  5. Bacteria can develop a resistance to that particular antibiotic.
  6. 3 million illnesses
  7. 35,000 deaths
  8. 190 million doses