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Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial and microbial infections, such as pneumonia or bacterial meningitis. They’re also sometimes used when skin conditions such as acne reach a severe level. They work either by killing the bacteria or stopping them from breeding.

Our GPs can write you a prescription for antibiotics that you can pick up from your nearest pharmacy. They’ll help you choose the best antibiotic for your illness and explain how to take your medication and how long you’ll need to take it for.

Your doctor will also talk to you about possible side effects of antibiotics before taking the medication. Common side effects include :

  • Diarrhoea
  • Sickness
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Poor appetite

How do antibiotics work?

First discovered in 1928, antibiotics revolutionised the way we treat infectious diseases. 

They work by disrupting the bacteria, preventing it from repairing itself and growing new cells.

Most antibiotics prescribed by doctors are known as 'broad spectrum' - which means they're effective against a wide range of bacteria.

However, there's also a variety of 'narrow spectrum' antibiotics that are used to tackle specific types of bacteria.

Broad spectrum antibiotics won't just kill off harmful bacteria, but can also affect the friendly bacteria that help maintain various aspects of your health.

As such, side effects like diarrhoea, feelings of nausea and vomiting aren't uncommon.

If you've got a medical issue and are wondering whether antibiotics are the right option to treat it - speak to a doctor online now.