What you need to know about antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from spreading, but they don’t work for everything.

Antibiotics are usually prescribed by your doctor or GP to treat bacterial infections that are unlikely to clear up without them, could infect others, could take too long to clear without any treatment or carry a risk of more serious health complications. 

Antibiotics can come as:

  • tablets, capsules or a liquid that you drink which can be used to treat most types of mild to moderate infections in the body
  • creams, lotions, sprays and drops which are often used to treat skin infections and eye or ear infections
  • injections which can be given through a drip directly into the blood or muscle (or just as standard) and are used for more serious infections

So, what do you need to know when it comes to antibiotics?

They’re only effective against bacterial infections

Firstly, it’s important to note that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. They don’t speed up the healing process and don’t work against viruses that are responsible for most coughs and colds. 

Most mild bacterial infections will get better by themselves, it’s not necessary to get antibiotics at the first sign of a mild infection.

There’s hundreds of types

Secondly there’s so many different types of antibiotics. Each type works in a different way to either kill the bacteria or prevent them spreading amongst your friends, family and co-workers. Most antibiotics can be classified into six groups. 

Antibiotic resistance is a real issue 

The more antibiotics used to treat simple infections means that they’re more likely to be ineffective at treating more serious conditions. Therefore, if you are prescribed antibiotics then it’s important to complete the course even if you feel better. Stopping early may leave some bacteria behind which can cause you to feel unwell again. They can also mutate and develop resistance.

If you think you may require antibiotics and want to speak to a GP about your symptoms you can book a private GP appointment at Pall Mall with prices starting from £75. To book call 0161 394 0319 or use our online booking form

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