November 19, 2015

MYTH 1:

You don’t have to take all the antibiotics you’re prescribed. Thirty-two percent of people think it’s O.K. to stop taking antibiotics once you feel better. But not taking the full course means an infection may not be fully treated and can spur resistance.

MYTH 2:

Antibiotic resistance means the body no longer responds to drugs. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed think this is true, when in fact it is the bacteria that become resistant and spread illness.

MYTH 3:

Only people who use antibiotics regularly are at risk. Forty-four percent of people believe this, but in fact anyone can get an infection that’s resistant to antibiotics.

MYTH 4:

Antibiotics can be used to treat colds and flu. Sixty-four percent of people in the survey think antibiotics can kick a cold. But viruses cause colds and the flu, and antibiotics are used only against bacteria.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

This appears in the November 30, 2015 issue of TIME.

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