The term antibiotic refers to a type of medication that is designed to kill or inhibit the growth of a micro-organism.
We may take it for granted that antibiotics are readily available from a local doctor, but it hasn't always been this way...
History of antibiotics
Before the 20th century, infections were treated with medicinal folklore. Basically, doctors used plant-based materials and mold to treat illnesses. As scientific equipment advanced, antibacterials produced by microorganisms were discovered, which led to the discovery of antibiotics.
In 1939, one of the first commercially manufactured antibiotics was released, called tyrothricin, and this helped to heal war wounds and ulcers. Since then, we've used antibiotics to treat a large number of ailments, and it's a good job they were discovered, as they have literally saved millions of lives!
Medical uses of antibiotics
- Bacterial infections
- Surgical wounds
- Prevention of infesction
- Dental procedures
- Plus other illnesses!
Here's a little video talking about one of the world's most important discoveries; penicillin: