How long do antibiotics take to work? | The Sun

IF you've ever had an infection, then it's likely you may have been prescribed antibiotics.

Millions of people are prescribed the medication every year, for a whole host of issues.

But antibiotics are specifically used to help our bodies fight off nasty infections.

Once upon a time, they were handed out relatively freely.

But since many countries have joined the fight to prevent antibiotic resistance, the drugs are no longer routinely used to treat all infections.

At the end of last year pharmacists faced shortages of several antibiotics as soaring Strep A cases lead to a huge increase in demand for the drugs at the end of last year.

Read more on antibiotics

Strep A antibiotics in short supply, warn pharmacists as death toll hits 16

Major change to how GPs give out prescriptions amid antibiotics ‘shortage’

Antibiotics don't work for everything and here we take a look at how long it takes them to work and whether or not you need to take the full course.

How long does it take for antibiotics to start working?

It might feel like you've been unwell for a long time, and in most cases you'll want to get better as soon as possible.

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria or preventing them from spreading, the NHS states.

However, they don't work for viral infections.

Most read in Health


Are smear tests important if I’ve never had sex? Dr Zoe answers your questions


More erection drugs to hit shops after red tape-busting move by health chiefs


From stomach ulcers to liver damage – the truth about over-the-counter drugs


I’m a new mum – the 12 reasons you SHOULD work out when you're pregnant

This includes colds and flu, Covid, chest infections, ear infections in children, and most coughs and sore throats.

In most cases they will be prescribed to you if the bacterial infection won't clear up without them or if you could infect others.

Medication could also be given if the infection would take too long to clear on its own or if it carries the risk of more serious complications.

When will I feel better and are there any side effects?

Everyone is different – as is there response to antibiotics.

Most people will feel better towards the end of the course, but this varies.

"It depends on the infection and antibiotic being taken," Mike Hewitson, a pharmacist from Bristol says.

"Remember that even if you feel better from the infection the antibiotics may make you feel unwell.

"Antibiotics can make you feel nauseous or give you an upset stomach," he adds.

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

According to Mike Hewitson, a pharmacist from Bristol, antibiotics get to work immediately, but you might not start to feel better straight away.

Mike says: "How quickly you begin to work depends what antibiotic you are on, the strength of it and what infection you are treating.

"If you're receiving them through an IV they can begin to work within hours.

"But some oral antibiotics can take a week or so to take effect."

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?

If you're starting to feel better it can be tempting to stop taking your antibiotics – but don't.

Mike says: "It's very important to finish your course of antibiotics, even if you're no longer feeling infectious and you feel better.

"Not finishing the course may result in the infection returning."

Doing so also contributes to the growing issue of antibiotic resistance. 

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

If you forget to take an antibiotic, it's not the end of the world, but take that dose as soon as you remember and carry on with the course of antibiotics as normal.

But if it's almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one 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.

Read More on The Sun

Dumped Love Islanders mobbed by fans as they land in UK after missing final

I took my fluffy doodle to groomers – but he came back looking like Pennywise

When it comes to side effects of the medication, the NHS states that the most commonly, people will feel sick, be sick, have bloating and indigestion, with others also have diarrhoea.

Guidance states that some people might also have an allergic reaction to the medication – especially penicillin and another type of antibiotic called cephalosporins.

Source: Read Full Article