Discovery Health "How do antibiotics work?"

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** How do antibiotics work? **

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Inside this Article

1. How do antibiotics work?
2. Lots More Information

*An antibiotic is a selective poison. It has been chosen so that it will
kill the desired bacteria, but not the cells in your body.  See
**staying healthy pictures** to learn more.*
/Duncan Smith/Getty Images/

Antibiotics work to kill bacteria. Bacteria are single-cell organisms. If
bacteria make it past our immune systems and start reproducing inside our
bodies, they cause disease. We want to kill the bacteria to eliminate the
disease.

Certain bacteria produce chemicals that damage or disable parts of our
bodies. In an ear infection, for example, bacteria have gotten into the
inner ear. The body is working to fight the bacteria, but the immune
system's natural processes produce inflammation. Inflammation in your ear
is painful. So you take an antibiotic to kill the bacteria and eliminate
the inflammation.

An antibiotic is a *selective poison*. It has been chosen so that it will
kill the desired bacteria, but not the cells in your body. Each different
type of antibiotic affects different bacteria in different ways. For
example, an antibiotic might inhibit a bacterium's ability to


Source: health.howstuffworks.com/medicine/medication/question88.htm


how do antibiotics work

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