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Why shouldn't antibiotics be used to treat colds, coughs and sore throats?

Antibiotics should only be used to treat infections caused by bacteria.  

All colds and most coughs and sore throats are caused by viruses. Generally your body will fight these infections on its own.  

If you take antibiotics for a viral infection, you are exposing bacteria in your gut to antibiotics unnecessarily. These bacteria will become resistant to the antibiotics and could later cause an infection.