Antibiotic shortage is a problem, but not because of the flu


Throughout the past few weeks we have seen several headlines about the impact of the antibiotic shortage on flu and RSV treatments. Stories like these bring light to an important topic facing our medical community: the shortage of commonly used antibiotics, especially those used in children. Drug shortages have plagued certain sectors of health care for years, and this one is particularly worrisome.

However, while these antibiotics are important for conditions like strep throat and ear infections, they do not work for the flu or COVID-19. Those infections are caused by viruses, which do not respond to antibiotics. Stories have stated that the antibiotic shortage makes flu difficult to treat, which is inaccurate. Flu can be treated with a medication specifically targeted to the flu virus, not antibiotics like amoxicillin. The same goes for COVID-19. It’s important to get this right, as the overuse of antibiotics creates significant problems.

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