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What is an antibiotic?

An antibiotic is a chemical that assists your immune system in getting rid of bacteria. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the infections we have are viral, so antibiotics are not helpful. So they are worthless against the common cold. Some antibiotics have direct killing power against bacteria, and other antibiotics render the bacteria more susceptible to our own immune system. Often the bacteria learn how to avoid the antibiotic, so antibiotic resistance develops. Therefore, it is important not to overuse antibiotics.

An antibiotic is a substance (usually a drug) that either inhibited growth or kills a germ. In order for a germ to be inhibited or killed, it must be susceptible to the drug. This is determined by genes in the germ. If the antibiotic does not inhibit growth or kill the germ, the germ is call antibiotic resistant.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.