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What is an antibiotic?

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What is an antibiotic? Antibiotics kill bacteria by interfering with the way in which bacteria reproduce. Antibiotics are produced naturally by many simple plants and even other bacteria. Antibiotics are useful because they seldom have any bad effects on the person taking them.

The use of antibiotics has meant that many diseases that were usually fatal can now be cured.

Antibiotics work by damaging bacterial reproduction rather than killing the bacteria outright, and so it is important to take the full course of the drug. Often you will feel better within a couple of days of starting treatment, but if you stop too soon the bacteria can recover. When you keep taking the drug, after several days the bacteria die and are cleared away.

How was penicillin discovered?

Penicillin was the first antibiotic to be discovered, by Alexander Fleming. He was searching for substances that would kill bacteria when he noticed some mould growing on an experimental dish. The mould killed the colonies of bacteria that were growing around it. Penicillin was extracted from this mould, and its use has saved millions of lives. Many other j antibiotics have since been discovered or made artificially.


Tags: medicine, antibiotics, bacteria



Category: Health  - ( Health Archive)

Date Added: 23 December '11


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