Skip to main content

We use cookies to help us improve your experience and to provide services like web chat. We also use cookies to measure the effectiveness of public health campaigns and understand how people use the website.

To find out more about cookies and how we use them, please see our privacy policy.

Antibiotics are medicines used to treat some bacterial infections. They work by killing bacteria or stopping them from growing.

You may need antibiotics if you have an infection that is unlikely to go away without them. In this case, your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics for you.

Antibiotics do not work for viral infections such as colds and flu, and most coughs and sore throats.

Antibiotic resistance is a big problem. Taking antibiotics when you do not need them can mean they will not work for you in the future.

Related topic

Antibiotic resistance

Always take antibiotics the way it says on the packet or the way you were told by your health professional.

Related topics

Uses

How to Take Antibiotics

Side Effects

Things to Consider

page last reviewed: 22/11/2019
next review due: 22/11/2022