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Antibiotics begin working immediately after entering your system, but it can take several days before you notice improvement in your symptoms. Here's a breakdown of the timeline:

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Onset of action:

  • Antibiotics start killing or stopping the growth of bacteria causing your infection within a few hours of taking them.

Symptom improvement:

  • While the medication starts working right away, it takes time for the body to fight the infection and for your symptoms to improve. You might start feeling slightly better after 2-3 days of taking antibiotics as directed. However, it can take up to 4-7 days for most people to experience significant improvement in their symptoms. This timeframe can vary depending on several factors:

    • Type of infection: Different types of infections respond to antibiotics at varying rates. Some infections, like strep throat, might improve quickly, while others, like pneumonia, might take longer.
    • Severity of infection: More severe infections typically require more time to improve compared to milder ones.
    • Individual factors: Age, overall health, and immune system function can influence how quickly the body responds to the medication and fights the infection.

Completing the course:

  • It's crucial to complete the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor, even if you start feeling better before finishing. This ensures complete eradication of the bacteria and prevents them from developing resistance to the medication. Stopping antibiotics early can also lead to the infection returning or becoming harder to treat.
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