Keep Antibiotics Working

Keep Antibiotics Working

Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. To help prevent antibiotic resistance, antibiotics should only be taken as prescribed and never saved for later use or shared with others. Take your doctor’s advice on antibiotics. #KeepAntibioticsWorking.

What are Antibiotics?

An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria. It is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections, and antibiotic medications are widely used in the treatment and prevention of such infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Use of antibiotics

When an infection is suspected of being responsible for an illness but the responsible pathogen has not been identified, this normally involves using a broad-spectrum antibiotic, based on the signs and symptoms presented and is started whilst waiting on laboratory results which can take a few days. 

When the responsible pathogenic microorganism is identified or has already been determined, a defined therapy can be initiated. This normally involves using a narrow-spectrum antibiotic. The choice of antibiotic given will also be based on its cost. Identification is critically important as it can reduce the cost and toxicity of the antibiotic therapy and also reduce the possibility of the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.


Antibiotics are usually taken by mouth. In more serious infections they can be administered by injection or intraveneously.

Try out the antibiotic crossword below to test your knowledge on how much you know about antibiotics.

Side effects

Antibiotics can have mild to severe side effects depending on the type of antibiotic prescribed, ranging form nausea, . fever to severe allergic reactions.

The most common side effects include diarrhoea.


Oral contraception

studies have shown that about 1% of patients have risk of oral contraception failure due to interaction with an antibiotic. Increased risk is mainly associated with non-compliance (missing the pill), vomiting or diarrhoea. For this reason it is normally advised for patient to take additional contraceptive precautions during the course of the antibiotic and for one week thereafter.


Some antibiotics work less effectively when consuming alcohol at the same time. Whereas with most common antibiotics alcohol in moderation will usually not interfere with the treatment.


Antibiotic resistance has been around for a long time and is when the resistant bacterial strain is able to survive during exposure to high doses of antibiotics. These ‘superbugs’ are the cause of a rise of infectious diseases that were well controlled in the past. How can we reduce contributing to antibiotic resistance?

Well the first rule is to not use them and the second rule is not to use too many of them.

Visit and pledge to become an antibiotic guardian to help our fight against antibiotic resistance.


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