How long do antibiotics take to work?

ANTIBIOTICS are medications used to fight infections caused by bacteria.

But how long does the medication take to work and how long will it take for you to start feeling better?

Antibiotics are used to fight infections caused by bacteria but can't be used for colds or flu


Antibiotics are used to fight infections caused by bacteria but can’t be used for colds or fluCredit: Getty

How long does it take for antibiotics to start working?

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria or preventing them from spreading – but it’s important to remember that they don’t 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.

Antibiotics get to work immediately, however, that’s not to say you’ll begin to feel better immediately.

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

Most antibiotics should be taken for 7 to 14 days. In some cases, shorter treatments work just as well.

They can come in different forms and the most common is a pill, capsules or liquid that you drink.

They are also included in creams, lotions, sprays and drop and these are most often used to treat skin infections and eye or ear infections.

For more serious infections, antibiotics will be given through an injection or a drop.

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.

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, the NHS says.

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 to 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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