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Do you have a sore throat, a persistent cough for Antibiotic, or the flu? There won’t be any problems if you ask your primary care physician for an antibiotic. Wait a second. Antibiotics serve no purpose.
The viruses that cause colds, the flu, and other common illnesses are not eliminated by antibiotics. No medicine can eradicate these pathogens. Antiviral medications merely stop viruses from proliferating. In contrast, a virus must go through its typical course, which takes around two weeks, if you have one.
Bacteria devise methods to evade destruction. They made it through. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to bacterial resistance. When resistance develops, antibiotics may either completely stop working or stop working as well.
Only bacterial diseases should be treated with antibiotics.
Antibiotics are useless against viruses, thus they cannot be used to treat the common cold or the flu, according to Hai Tran, PharmD, associate director of medication use policy at Cedars-Sinai.
As a result of their increased resistance, some bacteria, according to Tran, cannot be treated with the majority of medicines. These are known as “superbugs,” and treating them can be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria, fungi, and some parasites. They are widely used to treat strep throat, pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections, skin infections, and sexually transmitted diseases.
How can you tell if a bacterial or viral infection is the cause of your illness or if an antibiotic is required? Dr. Victor Fainstein, an infectious disease specialist at Houston Methodist Hospital, was contacted to respond to these and other questions regarding antibiotics.
How do antibiotics function?
Antibiotics, also referred to as antimicrobials, belong to a group of drugs used to treat bacterial infections. Penicillin, the first antibiotic, was discovered in the late 1920s, but it wasn’t used to treat infections until the 1940s. Currently, there are many different classes of antibiotics accessible, and each class affects different bacterial types.
How can I determine if I need an antibiotic?
Contact your doctor to discuss your illness and its symptoms. On occasion, he or she might invite you in for an appointment. In other situations, a virtual visit will suffice. Yet, only your doctor has the authority to determine if you need an antibiotic and, if so, what kind.
Should I, out of caution, ask for an antibiotic even though my doctor says I don’t need one?
No. If you don’t require an antibiotic, taking one won’t help. It won’t make you feel better. It can worsen your condition and have unwanted negative effects. Once you start to feel better, is it okay to discontinue taking the prescribed antibiotic?
No. Even if there are no symptoms, the bacteria may not have been completely eradicated. Always adhere to the prescribed course of action. If not, bacteria may survive and you risk experiencing a relapse.
Is it acceptable to use someone else’s antibiotics?
No. Don’t take anything other than the antibiotics your doctor has advised. Several antibiotics cannot be used interchangeably since they come in different forms. The incorrect medication could exacerbate your illness or encourage bacterial growth.
What negative consequences might antibiotics have?
Antibiotics, like other medications, may cause side effects. Some of the frequent side effects include nausea, diarrhoea, and stomach pain. Ask your doctor whether there is a different medicine you can take if the side effects upset you. In addition, some women may develop yeast infections after using antibiotics. In rare cases, taking antibiotics can cause an allergic reaction that needs medical attention.
Do expired antibiotics still work?
No. No medication that has expired of any kind should be consumed. Each medication has a shelf life. After that, the medication becomes less effective. Using expired medication increases the severity of your illness and has unfavourable side effects.
What is antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance is one of the most important global health challenges. Every time someone takes an antibiotic, bacteria are destroyed. Yet, some germs can still exist because they are resistant to the antibiotic. These germs multiply and could be dangerous. The misuse or overuse of antibiotics is the primary cause of antibiotic resistance. What is the most effective means of avoiding antibiotic resistance?
Talk to your healthcare provider in the first place about your condition and any symptoms you are experiencing. If at all feasible, request that your doctor take a culture to determine whether the illness is caused by a virus or a bacterium. Avoid using antibiotics if you have a viral infection. The best way to prevent antibiotic resistance is to use them less frequently when they are not necessary.
You may prevent being sick by taking good care of your body and practising proper cleanliness, such frequently washing your hands. Use antibiotics only as prescribed and if absolutely necessary. Future antibiotic overuse may lead to the emergence of diseases resistant to antibiotic treatment.
Take only the medications that have been prescribed to you. If a medication has been prescribed to you, take it as directed. It is important to follow the instructions on the label and those given to you by your pharmacist. Ask questions if required, and unless otherwise instructed, follow the medication exactly.
Why is it important to take antibiotics only when they’re needed?
For more information on antibiotic resistance, visit Antibiotic Resistance Questions and Answers.
Antibiotics are important to treat infections and have saved countless lives. However, anytime antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.
When antibiotics are needed, the benefits usually outweigh the risks of side effects or antibiotic resistance. However, too many antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily and misused, which threatens the usefulness of these important drugs.
This is why it’s important that we all use antibiotics ONLY when we need them to protect us from harms caused by unnecessary antibiotic use and to combat antibiotic resistance.