Display Mode:

    Main content

    Health Information



    Antibiotics are medicines used to kill bacteria that cause infections.

    A doctor will choose an antibiotic to treat an illness based on:

    • Whether taking an antibiotic will reduce the length or severity of the illness.
    • Whether the person is allergic to any antibiotics.
    • How likely it is that a certain antibiotic will kill the bacteria believed to be causing the symptoms.
    • The symptoms and the severity of the illness.
    • Other medical problems that the person has.
    • The person's age. (For example, some antibiotics are not safe for children.)
    • Whether a woman is pregnant.

    Current as of: May 24, 2016

    Author: Healthwise Staff

    Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Theresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

    © 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.