Antibioticsare used to treator preventsome types of bacterial infections. They aren't effective against viral infections, such as the common cold or flu.
Antibiotics should only be prescribed to treat conditions:
Antibiotics are no longer routinely used to treat infections because:
For example, antibiotics are no longer routinely used to treat chest infections, ear infections in children and sore throats .
Antibiotics are sometimes givenas a precaution to prevent, rather than treat, an infection. This is known as antibiotic prophylaxis.
Antibiotic prophylaxis is normally recommended if you're having surgeryon a certain part of the body which carries a high risk of infection or where infection could lead to devastating effects.
For example,it may be usedif you're going to have:
Your surgical team will be able to tell you if you require antibiotic prophylaxis.
Antibiotic prophylaxis may be recommended for a wound that has a high chance of becoming infected this could be an animal or human bite , for example, or a wound that has come into contact with soil or faeces.
There are several medical conditions that make people particularly vulnerable to infection,making antibiotic prophylaxis necessary.
For example,the spleen plays an important role in filtering out harmful bacteria from the blood.People who have had their spleen removed, peoplehaving chemotherapy for cancer,or those with the blood disorder sickle cell anaemia , where theirspleen doesn't work properly, should take antibiotics to prevent infection.
In some cases, antibiotic prophylaxis is prescribed for people who experience a recurring infection that's causing distress or an increased risk of complications, such as:
Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from reproducing and spreading.
Read about the uses of antibiotics, including treating or preventing some types of bacterial infections
Read about things to consider when taking the six main classes of antibiotics.
The most common side effects of antibiotics affect the digestive system. These occur in around 1 in 10 people.
Antibiotics can sometimes interact with other medicines or substances. This means it can have an effect that is different to what you expected.