December 2, 2022

How long do antibiotics take to work?


ANTIBIOTICS or antibacterials are drugs used to fight infections caused by bacteria.

But how long do they take to work?


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

How long does it take for the 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 don’t work for viral infections like colds and flu, chest infections, ear infections in children, and most coughs and sore throats.

Antibiotics work immediately, however, this does not mean that the recipient will start to feel better immediately.

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

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

Your doctor will decide on the best duration of treatment and the type of antibiotic that is right for you.

Should I take my full course of antibiotics?

You should take antibiotics as directed on the package or patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine, or as directed 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.

It can also help prevent antibiotic resistance.

Don’t stop your antibiotic too soon without talking to your healthcare provider first.

If you forget to take an antibiotic, take that dose as soon as you remember, then continue your antibiotic treatment as normal.

But if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.

Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose as this may increase the risk of side effects.

When should I start feeling better when taking antibiotics?

How long it takes you to feel better will depend on how and what the treatment is and how your body responds to it.

You should feel better towards the end of the course.

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