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How long do antibiotics take to work? (generally)

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    Hi,

    Now I understand that that is a vague question, and will probably give me an answer such as "1-7 Days", but "generally" how long do they take to at least make you feel slightly better(i.e. most of the time within 24 hours you should notice improvement)? I feel absolutely terrible, I've never felt like this before except maybe when I had glandular fever, so I feel like I have to do something.

    I have been feeling unwell since saturday, with mainly a chronic non-productive cough. On occassion I have produced some orange phlegm, and I have been feverish. I went to the doctor yesterday and he noted gloomily that I have some pus on my throat on the right side and a temperature.

    He said it was a bacterial infection, and gave me some amoxicilin. Now I know not even 24 hours is a pretty short amount of time for antibiotics to work, but today I feel the same, if not worse than yesterday. I'm really light headed, overnight I was freezing cold (got up and put a tracksuit on to sleep in), and now I have pus on both sides of my throat! Last night, my sleep was just as bad as previous nights.

    So, basically, how long do you think I should give it? I'm getting battered here. Otherwise I might roll on (stumble on) down to a and e and get some proper tests etc. Any other tips? I'm downing ibruprofen, paracetamol and cough mixture at the moment.

    Also, I'm missing out on the last week of my internship for this stupid disease...

    Many thanks!
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    Sounds like quite a serious infection that isn't going to go away very easily.

    Antibiotics aren't known to take effect very fast at all so you shouldn't expect to get better within 24 hours. Typically, for myself, I feel better around a week after starting a course and almost always feel normal-ish by the end of the second week.

    Best advice is to take your course,stay hydrated,well rested and ride it out.Just remember that no matter how you feel; that you should always finish your course of antibiotics.

    p.s. you want to try some sort of sore throat mouth wash and rinse like Difflam.

    If you feel as though you are still getting worse then you ought to head back to your Doctor a.s.a.p.
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    I got some amoxocillin yesterday too for what sounds like a similar thing to you, only I don't have it quite as bad. I'd give it 3 or so days till it kicks in. Like you, the day after I'm not feeling particularly better.

    What strength of amoxocillin have you got? I've got 7 days worth of 500mgs (rahter than 250mgs) which surprised me, as I think that's about the strongest you can have...
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    omg it's been a day...

    you're not going to be cured just yet. Plus you do realise antibiotics have side effects?

    how long is your course of antibiotics? I would expect at least 3 days before you feel any better.
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    It took me over a week to notice any difference at all when I was on them.
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    (Original post by squeak)
    Plus you do realise antibiotics have side effects?
    You didn't qualify this statement with any real fact or advice. Are you deliberately trying to stir the OP and make the OP panic?
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    (Original post by ThisLittlePiggy)
    You didn't qualify this statement with any real fact or advice. Are you deliberately trying to stir the OP and make the OP panic?
    The fact: AB have side effects.
    The advice: You might feel some new symptoms--they can be side effects.

    But that's my opinion
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    OP: I'd give it AT LEAST 48 hours. If you haven't started to show ANY signs of improvement by 72 hrs, I'd call the Dr. and ask for an appointment. Don't take my words as an explanation for why you are not feeling well yet, but as advice for the next few days. You could have a resistant strain of the infectious bacteria (or it maybe not even bacteria at all if they didn't do cultures). SO--if after 3 days, no improvement is seen, go back to the Dr.

    One more thing, keep an eye on how much Ibuprofen you're taking.

    Hope you feel well soon.
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    I'd give it another 24-48 hours and if you don't start to perk up, go back to the GP. I wouldn't go to A&E as you have neither had an accident nor an emergency and they'll probably send you back to your GP anyway.

    From what you've described, it sounds as if your fever continued overnight, and there's a bit more pus. I'd give it a few more days for the antibiotics to work, but there's always the chance that the bugs are resistant to amoxicillin, so if it doesn't start to improve, you'll need to try something else. Any tests the hospital would do on you would not be able to change your management quickly (bacterial cultures and sensitivity takes at least 24 hours if not more) so there's little point you going there.

    Keep going with the paracetamol etc, and make sure you keep hydrated.
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    (Original post by ThisLittlePiggy)
    Sounds like quite a serious infection that isn't going to go away very easily.

    Antibiotics aren't known to take effect very fast at all so you shouldn't expect to get better within 24 hours. Typically, for myself, I feel better around a week after starting a course and almost always feel normal-ish by the end of the second week.

    Best advice is to take your course,stay hydrated,well rested and ride it out.Just remember that no matter how you feel; that you should always finish your course of antibiotics.

    p.s. you want to try some sort of sore throat mouth wash and rinse like Difflam.

    If you feel as though you are still getting worse then you ought to head back to your Doctor a.s.a.p.
    Cheers, the doctor did say gargle saltwater in fact, which I did last night and shall do in a minute. I will just carry on riding it out .

    (Original post by elanor_sarah)
    I got some amoxocillin yesterday too for what sounds like a similar thing to you, only I don't have it quite as bad. I'd give it 3 or so days till it kicks in. Like you, the day after I'm not feeling particularly better.

    What strength of amoxocillin have you got? I've got 7 days worth of 500mgs (rahter than 250mgs) which surprised me, as I think that's about the strongest you can have...
    I've got the same course as you! Maybe we do have the same thing, I am just weaker it seems How long have you had it?

    Thanks generally for advice guys, I was just mainly trying to guage how long these antibiotics could take. As people have noted above it can take up to a week, in which case I know I could have a lot more waiting to do. If that is the case though I doubt my 7 days of prescribed antibiotics will be enough...

    Also the OP is not easily scared by replies...
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    (Original post by Helenia)
    I'd give it another 24-48 hours and if you don't start to perk up, go back to the GP. I wouldn't go to A&E as you have neither had an accident nor an emergency and they'll probably send you back to your GP anyway.

    From what you've described, it sounds as if your fever continued overnight, and there's a bit more pus. I'd give it a few more days for the antibiotics to work, but there's always the chance that they're resistant to amoxicillin, so if it doesn't start to improve, you'll need to try something else. Any tests the hospital would do on you would not be able to change your management quickly (bacterial cultures and sensitivity takes at least 24 hours if not more) so there's little point you going there.

    Keep going with the paracetamol etc, and make sure you keep hydrated.
    That's good advice, thanks. I probably wouldn't go to A and E anyway, I just felt so bad when I wrote the post above I was getting extreme...
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    (Original post by ThisLittlePiggy)
    You didn't qualify this statement with any real fact or advice. Are you deliberately trying to stir the OP and make the OP panic?
    oh yes I was deliberatley being a bastard :rolleyes:

    How would it make the OP panic, surely it explains why he might be feeling worse from being on the antibiotics. If the OP wasn't sure what my statement meant he could have asked me.
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    go for garlgeing with Asprin, dont swollow it if you can avoid it. drink warm (not hot) tea and if its really hurting try dequcaine ( deck u Cain)
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    I've got the same course as you! Maybe we do have the same thing, I am just weaker it seems How long have you had it?
    I've had a cough badly for almost a week now, but with the weekend and bank hol I haven't been able to get to the docs. I think I've developed a bit of temperature fluctuation and tiredness within the past 48 hours, but as I say it doesn't sound as bad as you. I don't suppose you've been sick from coughing so much have you? I just have been and now I feel rubbish
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    (Original post by alisama)
    Hi,

    Now I understand that that is a vague question, and will probably give me an answer such as "1-7 Days", but "generally" how long do they take to at least make you feel slightly better(i.e. most of the time within 24 hours you should notice improvement)? I feel absolutely terrible, I've never felt like this before except maybe when I had glandular fever, so I feel like I have to do something.

    I have been feeling unwell since saturday, with mainly a chronic non-productive cough. On occassion I have produced some orange phlegm, and I have been feverish. I went to the doctor yesterday and he noted gloomily that I have some pus on my throat on the right side and a temperature.

    He said it was a bacterial infection, and gave me some amoxicilin. Now I know not even 24 hours is a pretty short amount of time for antibiotics to work, but today I feel the same, if not worse than yesterday. I'm really light headed, overnight I was freezing cold (got up and put a tracksuit on to sleep in), and now I have pus on both sides of my throat! Last night, my sleep was just as bad as previous nights.

    So, basically, how long do you think I should give it? I'm getting battered here. Otherwise I might roll on (stumble on) down to a and e and get some proper tests etc. Any other tips? I'm downing ibruprofen, paracetamol and cough mixture at the moment.

    Also, I'm missing out on the last week of my internship for this stupid disease...

    Many thanks!
    Your GP is an absolute moron. Swap to another one.

    I'll see if one of the others explain what your GP did that was so bad...
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    Are you thinking;

    Orange phlegm -> pneumonia
    Amoxicillin -> no effect

    ?
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    (Original post by ThisLittlePiggy)
    Are you thinking;

    Orange phlegm -> pneumonia
    Amoxicillin -> no effect

    ?
    Spoiler:
    Show
    You shouldn't give amoxicillin to people with a sore throat - sore throat is typically caused by a virus so antibiotics aren't effective, and the key bacteria is a strep so you could simply use penicillin.

    THen there is the fact that sore throat can be caused (esp in the under 20s) by glandular fever. If you give amoxicillin to these people they get a widespread itchy rash.

    So there really is no excuse, and if a doctor can make a school boy error like that, they can make others too. Hence swap GPs.
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    (Original post by Jamie)
    Spoiler:
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    You shouldn't give amoxicillin to people with a sore throat - sore throat is typically caused by a virus so antibiotics aren't effective, and the key bacteria is a strep so you could simply use penicillin.

    THen there is the fact that sore throat can be caused (esp in the under 20s) by glandular fever. If you give amoxicillin to these people they get a widespread itchy rash.

    So there really is no excuse, and if a doctor can make a school boy error like that, they can make others too. Hence swap GPs.
    Nice one Jamie.
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    She's already had glandular fever though, so unless it's come back in style, I'd have thought it was unlikely to be that. You're right about the amoxicillin though, but without examining her chest or deciding whether the problem is mainly throat or lungs, I'd probably still be a bit clueless.

    I must also get out of elective-induced "antibiotics for everything" mindset.
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    (Original post by Helenia)
    She's already had glandular fever though, so unless it's come back in style, I'd have thought it was unlikely to be that. You're right about the amoxicillin though, but without examining her chest or deciding whether the problem is mainly throat or lungs, I'd probably still be a bit clueless.

    I must also get out of elective-induced "antibiotics for everything" mindset.
    well my chest was examined, and he said there wasn't much going on there. he said the problem was mainly throat, and still gave the antiobiotics. i agree, i never thought he was a good GP. however, i am very grateful that he is trigger happy with antiobiotics, as now i'm feeling a hell of a lot better....

    also do i really come across as a girl in my post!?
Updated: December 10, 2013
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