Tel: 01884 831300
Opening Times: 8.30am-6.30pm
Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infections. They aren't effective against viral infections, such as the common cold or flu.
Antibiotics should only be prescribed to treat conditions:
Antibiotics are no longer routinely used to treat infections because:
Read more about antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics may also be recommended for people who are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of infection. This may include:
Antibiotics are sometimes given as a precaution to prevent, rather than treat, an infection. This is known as antibiotic prophylaxis.
Antibiotic prophylaxis is normally recommended if you're having surgery on a certain part of the body which carries a high risk of infection or where infection could lead to devastating effects.
For example, it may be used if you're going to have:
Your surgical team will be able to tell you if you require antibiotic prophylaxis.
Antibiotic prophylaxis may be recommended for a wound that has a high chance of becoming infected – this could be an animal or human bite, for example, or a wound that has come into contact with soil or faeces.
There are several medical conditions that make people particularly vulnerable to infection, making antibiotic prophylaxis necessary.
For example, the spleen plays an important role in filtering out harmful bacteria from the blood. People who have had their spleen removed, people having chemotherapy for cancer, or those with the blood disorder sickle cell anaemia, where their spleen doesn't work properly, should take antibiotics to prevent infection.
In some cases, antibiotic prophylaxis is prescribed for people who experience a recurring infection that's causing distress or an increased risk of complications, such as: