There are more than 100 different viruses that are responsible for the common cold and antibiotics are a completely ineffective method of treating them. Many parents are under the impression that antibiotics should be given to their child when they have a bad cold or flu. However, antibiotics will not speed up your child's recovery or make them feel any better. Most common infections such as colds, coughs, or flu don't need antibiotics and will generally run their course without treatment.
It is important to bear in mind that if you give your child antibiotics when they have an infection like a cold or a flu, you are actually putting their health at risk. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed causes bacteria to become more resistant to antibiotic treatments. The next time your child needs antibiotics they may not work. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and can be life saving in treating certain infections such as meningitis, pneumonia, and TB.
The HSE is campaigning against the use of antibiotics for cold and flu and is warning that if we continue overusing antibiotics we are in danger of rendering these drugs ineffective against the treatment of serious illnesses. They warn that taking antibiotics for a cold or flu is not only a waste of a life saving resource, but is also a waste of money, time, and causes side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, and skin rashes. Remember that, the next time your child has a cough or cold, antibiotics should only be used when they are really needed.