Most colds don't need antibiotics! Very often patients will go to their local doctor saying I have a cold I think I may need some antibiotics, but there are some good reasons not to take antibiotics in this situation! Firstly, the antibiotics won't help because most colds are due to viruses not bacteria, and regular antibiotics have no effect. Secondly taking antibiotics unnecessarily risks causing one of the many side effects that these medications are responsible for and antibiotics may interact with other medications that you are taking. Another big problem with taking antibiotics unnecessarily is that our precious wonderful antibiotics are losing their power because of what is called antibiotic resistance. This means if we use the antibiotics when we don't need them, when they are really required they will no longer work! Your doctor will assess those situations where antibiotics are genuinely very useful such as pneumonia, tonsillitis, some ear infections, Streptococcus throat infections, and for some people who have diminished immune systems. The main message however is that most colds can be managed symptomatically without taking antibiotics.