How long do antibiotics take to work?

IF you've ever had a type of infection then it's likely that you will have been prescribed antibiotics.

Antibiotics or antibacterials are medications used to fight infections caused by bacteria.

Here's everything you need to know.

How long does it take for antibiotics to start working?

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria or preventing bacteria's from spreading but it is important to remember that they do not work for everything.

They do not work for viral infections such as colds and flu, chest infections, ear infections in children, and most coughs and sore throats.

They also don't work against Covid – and the best way that you can protect yourself from the virus is the get your vaccine and booster dose.

If you think you have Covid then you should take a test straight away.

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Antibiotics get to work immediately, however, that's not to say the recipient will begin to feel better immediately.

How quickly you recover with antibiotic treatment varies. It also depends on the type of infection you’re treating.

Most antibiotics should be taken for seven to 14 days. In some cases, shorter treatments work just as well.

Your doctor will decide the best length of treatment and correct antibiotic type for you.

Do I need to take my full course of antibiotics?

You should take antibiotics as directed on the packet or the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine, or as instructed by your GP or pharmacist.

It is important that you complete the full course of antibiotics, even if you are feeling better.

If you don't complete the course, you run the risk of the infection coming back.

This can also help prevent antibiotic resistance.

Don’t stop your antibiotic early without first talking with your healthcare provider.

If you forget to take an antibiotic, take that dose as soon as you remember and then continue to take your course of antibiotics as normal.

But if it's almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.

Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one as this can increase the risk of side effects.

When should I start feeling better when taking antibiotics?

The time in which it takes you to feel better will depend on the course and type of treatment, and how well your body responds to it.

You should feel better towards the end of the course.

If you have completed the course and don't see any signs of improvement, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

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