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Antibiotics are strong drugs used to fight bacterial infections.

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria and stopping them from reproducing. Different types of antibiotics fight different kinds of bacteria. They can be effective, and can improve, and even save lives when used properly.

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial diseases such as strep throat, staph infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), ear infections, and certain diarrheal diseases. For patients with lung conditions, antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial infections such as pneumonia and are part of the management of other conditions like chronic bronchitis.

Bacterial or Viral?

Antibiotics don’t work on viral infections like the common cold. Your doctor can do a test to decide if an infection is bacterial or viral. Taking antibiotics when you have a viral infection can be harmful. This is because each time you take antibiotics, you increase the chance of bacteria changing to become resistant to the antibiotic. This could mean the antibiotic won’t work against the new, changed bacteria in the future.

It’s also important to follow directions carefully when you take antibiotics. Finish all the medicine prescribed to you. If you don’t, some of the bacteria causing the infection could survive, and you could be re-infected.

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