Before antibiotics people had copper:
The use of copper by human civilizations dates back to between the 5th and 6th millennia B.C. It was the first metal used, presumably because it could be found in a native, metallic form which did not require smelting. Its use remained scattered throughout Europe and the Middle East, and the archeological evidence remains scarce. With the invention of smelting, the metallurgic age began and the advantage of combining copper with tin to form bronze was discovered. The earliest bronze artifacts originated from the Middle East and China and date to before 3000 B.C., but it was not until the second millennium B.C. that bronze was used throughout Europe. The ability to smelt and forge iron from about 1000 B.C. marks the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age.The oldest recorded medical use of copper is mentioned in the Smith Papyrus, one of the oldest books known (8). This Egyptian medical text, written between 2600 and 2200 B.C., describes the application of copper to sterilize chest wounds and drinking water (8). Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, and others also used copper or copper compounds for the treatment of such ailments as headaches, burns, intestinal worms, and ear infections and for hygiene in general.