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Penicillin is an antibiotic, meaning it kills bacteria that are commonly thought of as "germs" that make us sick.

As the earliest natural antibiotic (not synthesized by man), and one of the first antibiotics available, it allowed people that had potentially deadly infections survive by aiding their body in killing the bacteria causing the illness. This brought the average life span/expectancy up.

It is said that the discovery of antibiotics (with penicillin being #1) has made an impact on life expectancy second only to public health measures (ie, waste disposal, etc).

Before Penicillin, bacteria that we think of as minor infections now (e.g. strep) were potentially deadly.

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Q: How did penicillin improve health?
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