Myths Or Truths

Can you tell the difference?

Antibiotics work by killing or stopping the growth of bacteria that cause infections. They are used to treat and cure infections that can take too long to clear, carry risk of serious complications and are contagious.(1)

Know Your Antibiotics

Here are some common myths and truths regarding the use of antibiotics. (2-5)

1: Infections

  • MYTH: Antibiotics can be used for viral infections such as the common cold and flu, as well as bacterial infections
  • Truth: Antibiotics do not work against viruses because viruses are constructed differently from bacteria

2: Incorrect Use

  • MYTH: Using antibiotics incorrectly will not cause any major harm
  • Truth: Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can affect the entire community

3: AMR is disappearing

  • MYTH: With advancements in healthcare, the problem of antibiotic resistance is slowly disappearing
  • Truth: The problem of antibiotic resistance is getting worse. There are now some bacteria that are resistant to several antibiotics at the same time. Such bacteria may eventually become resistant to all existing antibiotics

4: New Discoveries

  • MYTH: It is not difficult to discover new antibiotics to combat the problem of antibiotic resistance
  • Truth: There are not many new antibiotics in pipeline. New antibiotics are becoming harder to find and the development of new antibiotics has been steadily dropping

5: Dosage

  • MYTH: If I am taking a course of antibiotics and start to feel better, I can stop taking the antibiotics even if I am not finished with the course
  • Truth: It is important to take all of the medication, even if you are feeling better. If treatment stops too soon, the drug may not kill all the bacteria. You may become sick again, and the remaining bacteria may become resistant to the antibiotic that you've taken


  1. NHS. Antibiotics Overview. Available at: Accessed 31 December 2018
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic resistance questions and answers.
    Available at: Accessed 31 December 2018
  3. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Factsheet for the general public – Antimicrobial resistance.
    Available at: Accessed 31 December 2018
  4. Shallcross JL, et al. Tackling the threat of antimicrobial resistance: From policy to sustainable action. Phil Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 2015;370:20140082
  5. US Food and Drug Administration. Combating antibiotic resistance.
    Available at: Accessed 31 December 2018