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Antibiotics

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.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

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Symptom Checker

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Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.