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Should I take antibiotics for a cold?

Answer by:
WebMD Expert


No. Antibiotics don't work for the common cold, which is caused by viruses. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections.

Sometimes a bacterial infection will follow a cold virus. Signs that you may have a bacterial infection after a cold are pain around the face and eyes that may worsen when bending over, and coughing up thick yellow or green mucus. These symptoms may also occur with a cold. But if they last for more than a week or are severe, you may have a bacterial infection and need antibiotics.

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