So recently I had tonsillitis and as I type this post I’m still taking antibiotics for it. Phenoxymethylpenicillin to be exact (Yea I don’t know why the word is that long either). Anyhoo, I’ve been through this tonsillitis – antibiotics tango before, roughly around this time last year. This time around though, it’s prompted me to be more curious. What magic is in these pills that I’m taking?
Firstly, an antibiotic is defined as a drug that is used in the treatment or prevention of bacterial infections either killing or inhibiting the growth of said bacteria. Now let’s take into consideration that there is bacteria EVERYWHERE so bacterial infections are inevitable. There’s good bacteria which aid us in life and there’s bad bacteria which cause illness and the likes. Within these are tons of different species of bacteria, and they’re all locked in some type of battle with one another. That battle is how the first form of antibiotics were discovered… well, accidentally discovered.
While tidying up his lab area, microbiologist Alexander Fleming noticed a petri dish had become contaminated with mold. On further examination he noticed all the bacteria around the mold had died, apparently due to something being secreted from it. That mold, or fungus, was a strain of penicillium and that secretion, or active substance, was penicillin. At that point in time more needed to be done to make penicillin useable as a drug for human beings but nonetheless the age of antibiotics was born.
Nowadays there are plenty of different types of antibiotics being used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. For more information on antibiotics check out these links: