Medical File: How Do Antibiotics Work?

Medical File: How Do Antibiotics Work?
05 November 2018
The discovery of penicillin as an antibiotic changed the course of medical history. Since then, countless lives have been saved, and medical science has advanced in exceptional ways.

We’re delving in to how antibiotics really work, and how they help us heal from illnesses:

What are antibiotics?
An essential tool in fighting illnesses, and helping people recover, antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. They are not used to treat viral infections, as there is no ‘target’ for the antibiotic to focus on. Antibiotics work by eliminating bacteria or inhibiting their growth.

Antibiotic treatment
Antibiotics can only be prescribed for you by a doctor or clinic nurse. For this reason, when you’re battling a bacterial infection of some type, it’s vital that you visit your doctor and get the treatment your body needs. Antibiotics get to work the moment you start taking them, aiming to eliminate the bacteria that’s made you ill. Antibiotics are most commonly prescribed for between seven and fourteen days at a time.

Advances in antibiotics
Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928, medical science has leapt ahead in the development of suitable, safe treatment for bacterial infections. In under a century, reliable and functional antibiotic treatments have been developed for almost all bacterial infections. There is, however, a downside to this.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria
Because antibiotic treatments are easily accessible, global use of them is as commonplace as a tree. This has led, however, to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. That’s why it’s so important to always finish your prescribed course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better. Usually, if you don’t get better after one course of antibiotics, your doctor may prescribe a second type of antibiotic treatment. While that usually helps, those alternating options are running thin, as antibiotic resistant bacteria  are forcing medical scientists to find new, effective mechanisms for fighting off diseases. It’s a slow process, that will take many years of research and study. In short: don’t forget to take your medication and finish your course of antibiotics, every time your doctor prescribes them!

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