Antibiotics are medicines used to treat a wide variety of infections or diseases caused by bacteria including:
- respiratory tract infections (such as whooping cough and pneumonia)
- urinary tract infections, and
- skin infections.
If you are prescribed antibiotics, it is important that you follow your health professional’s advice on when, how, and for how long to take them. Read more about how to take your antibiotics on the NPS MedicineWise website.
Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change to protect themselves from an antibiotic. They are then no longer sensitive to that antibiotic. When this happens, antibiotics that previously would have killed the bacteria, or stopped them from multiplying, no longer work. Read more about antibiotic resistance and how to prevent it.
If you have an infection caused by bacteria, your doctor will decide if antibiotics are needed to help you get better. Not all bacterial infections need antibiotic treatment. Many infections clear up by themselves, especially if you are in good health. Read more about whether you need an antibiotic
Tools, calculators and apps
You can help fight antibiotic resistance — make a promise to help reduce the prescribing of antibiotics for viral infections
like colds and flu.
Alcohol can interact with some antibiotics so always ask your doctor or other health professional if you can drink alcohol while taking antibiotics. Learn more about alcohol & antibiotics.
The antibiotics rifamipicin & rifabutin will interact with some hormonal contraceptives. Always ask your doctor or health professional for advice about antibiotics & contraceptives.
The side effects of antibiotics can include diarrhoea, nausea & vomiting, thrush & allergic reactions. Learn more about antibiotic side effects.
Antibiotic medicines do not kill viral infections (such as a cold or flu). Antibiotics only treat infections or diseases caused by bacteria. Learn more about antibiotics and viruses.
There are many different types of antibiotics. The best antibiotic for your infection will depend on what infection you have and the type of bacteria causing it.
Read all about the antibiotics available to treat respiratory tract infections (RTIs) such as colds, flu, pneumonia & sinusitis.
There are several different types of antibiotics that can be used, if they are needed, to treat urinary tract infections
and the best antibiotic for you will depend on which bacteria are causing it.
Antibiotics aren’t likely to help coughs, colds or sore throats. Download a factsheet about treating respiratory infections
Middle ear infections usually get better on their own. Children younger than 2 years may need antibiotics. Read more about treatments for a middle ear infection
Read antibiotics information on the NPS MedicineWise website.
Download a translated factsheet about antibiotics.
The Pick Up by ONEWAY PICTURES
NPS MedicineWise and Tropfest have partnered to encourage creative individuals or groups to help spread a vital health message to Australians that, through misuse and overuse, antibiotics are losing their power.