Can COVID-19 Patients Take Antibiotics?

Here's the science behind when to use it.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

People getting treated for COVID-19 should consult with their doctor first before using antibiotics to avoid misuse, an infectious disease specialist said Friday, with more people recovering from the disease in their homes.

Antibiotics are designed to work against bacterial infections, not viruses like SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, Dr. Rontgene Solante told TeleRadyo after a Cavite town was reported to have included antibiotics in its care packs.

"We always educate them that when it is about viral infection especially now with COVID, walang role ang antibiotic," he said.

"If you give an antibiotic to a patient with a viral infection, that antibiotic might also cause eradication of the bystander organism sa katawan natin and ang magiging epekto n'yan, puwedeng maging resistant ka 'pag meron ka nang totoong bacterial infection."

COVID-19 patients can take antibiotics only when they get bacterial infections, the World Health Organization had said.

Solante said some pharmacies had been selling antibiotics without a prescription, which is prohibited.

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Misuse could result in antibiotic resistance, which happens when the bacteria fights the medicine that's supposed to kill it, the WHO said. It could lead to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and higher death rates.

The WHO has these guidelines on the intake of antibiotics:

  • Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.
  • Never demand antibiotics if your health worker says you don’t need them.
  • Always follow your health worker’s advice when using antibiotics.
  • Never share or use leftover antibiotics.


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