Two thirds of Aussies think antibiotics help cold and flu

A poll conducted on behalf of NPS MedicineWise found 65% of Australians wrongly believe that taking antibiotics will help them get over a cold or flu.

"These new findings show many people still mistakenly believe that antibiotics make a difference when they have a virus," said Dr Andrew Boyden of NPS MedicineWise.

Using antibiotics when they're not needed, like for colds and flu, is contributing to antibiotic resistance, he said.

"This is making bacterial infections, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, harder to treat, with potentially dire consequences."

The polling of 1001 people also showed that 41% of Australians believe they have caught a cold or flu from public transport, while 42% think they have caught a cold or flu by getting cold or wet.

"Colds and flu are viral infections that are spread from person to person, so good hygiene is paramount."

NPS MedicineWise antibiotic recommendations for patients: