What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are a commonly prescribed type of medication that combat bacteria.

They are powerful medicines that fight certain infections and can save lives when used properly. They either stop bacteria from reproducing or destroy them.

Before bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms, the immune system can typically kill them. White blood cells (WBCs) attack harmful bacteria and, even if symptoms do occur, the immune system can usually cope and fight off the infection.

There are occasions, however, when the number of harmful bacteria is excessive, and the immune system cannot fight them all. They are useful in this scenario.

The first antibiotic was penicillin. Penicillin-based antibiotics, such as ampicillin, amoxicillin, and penicillin G, are still available to treat a variety of infections and have been around for a long time.

There are several types of modern antibiotics, and they are usually only available with a prescription in most countries. Topical antibiotics are available in over-the-counter creams and ointments (OTC).

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