Consumers and carers

Antibiotic resources for consumers

Antibiotics resources for consumers, including background information about antibiotics, useful links and information translated into Arabic, Chinese (simplified and Chinese (Traditional).

About antibiotics

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 antibiotics on the NPS MedicineWise website.

What is antibiotic resistance?

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

Take the pledge to fight antibiotic resistance

You can help fight antibiotic resistance — make a promise to help reduce the prescribing of antibiotics for viral infections like colds and flu.

Side effects of antibiotics

The side effects of antibiotics can include diarrhoea, nausea & vomiting, thrush & allergic reactions.

What is the best way to take my antibiotics?

It's important to take your antibiotics correctly, and to be aware of interactions with other substances such as alcohol and contraception. Make sure you're medicinewise with your antibiotics

Coughs, colds and sore throats

Antibiotics aren’t likely to help coughs, colds or sore throats, find out if you need antibiotics for your cold or flu.

Medicines and treatments for a middle ear infection

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


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.

5 Questions

5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider to make sure you end up with the right amount of care.

Find out more