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Antibiotics 101

You’d likely need to go to either pharmacy or medical school to understand and unravel the vast world of antibiotics. But it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of these medications, including what they’re for, how they work and why you need to finish the whole bottle — even when you’re feeling better.

What antibiotics treat

Antibiotics are medications that help stop severe infections caused by bacteria, such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections and strep throat.

Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like colds, COVID-19 or the flu. Fueling your body with antibiotics could mess with the balance of good bacteria already in your system.

For viral infections, the best

course of action is to simply wait it out. And while you do, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, get ample rest, and take cold medicine or pain relievers to relieve symptoms as needed.

How they work

Antibiotics work in a number of ways. For example, they can remove the protective coating around bacteria to enable the body's immune system to fight back, or they may also halt bacteria's ability to multiply. Different types of antibiotics are available, each with varying chemical structures. Penicillin is one of the most well-known. Others include macrolides, cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. The type of bacterial infection you have will determine which antibiotic is most effective to treat your condition.

Why you should finish taking them

When undergoing antibiotic treatment, it's important to finish your entire prescription. Even though you might feel better after a few days, continue to take the antibiotics for as long as your medical provider prescribes treatment. If you don't, bacteria can create antibiotic resistance, which could make it difficult to treat similar illnesses in the future.

Questions or concer

ns? Just ask your Indigo provider.

If you suspect you might have a bacterial infection, don’t hesitate to visit your nearby Indigo Health. We’re open every day, 8 am to 8 pm, even on holidays. Our friendly medical professionals will provide a prompt diagnosis and, if medically necessary, may prescribe an antibiotic to help clear your bacterial infection.

If your infection is viral, our medical providers can recommend a multitude of other treatment options to get you on your way to feeling better.

Indigo Urgent Care clinics provide on-site lab tests and offer rapid tests to check for strep throat, flu and urinary tract infections. If you’re prescribed antibiotics, we’re happy to address all your questions and concerns.

And to make care even more convenient, you’ll no longer need to stand in line at the pharmacy after your Indigo visit. We offer a  prescription delivery service in Pierce County, Auburn and Federal Way, and have plans to expand this service to all Indigo locations in 2021.

A better way to get better.

Health care that’s friendly, easy, and centered around you.

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