If not taken properly, antibiotics do more harm than good. One problem that is of major importance globally is the emergence of resistance, that is, the resistance of bacteria to improper administration of antibiotics. The more common they are taken, the greater the risk of developing bacterial resistance. That is why we emphasize the importance of proper use of antibiotics.
Resistance means that microbes become immune to medicines for treating infections. The antibiotic loses its effect during treatment because bacteria create a mechanism to neutralize the effect of the drug. This process can go so far that the microorganisms become dependent on the antibiotic itself. This is due to the frequent and improper use of antibiotics. If bacteria become immune to drugs used to treat infections, treatment with other antibiotics takes longer. Also, the use of stronger antibiotics will result in the bacteria becoming immune to those drugs as well. In the end, we might find ourselves no longer having any cure for infection in the entire population.
Antibiotics are drugs that destroy bacteria or stop them from spreading and prevent bacterial inflammation. These drugs are not effective against viruses that cause diseases such as the flu, common cold and acute bronchitis. These viral infections are usually self-resolving and do not require antibiotic treatment. Cough and sore throat are mostly symptoms of a viral infection and an antibiotic cannot help cure or relieve the symptoms or accelerate the cure.
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How to take antibiotics
Patients should approach their treatment responsibly. It is important to follow the exact instructions of the doctor and pharmacist who will prescribe the medicine. When taking antibiotics, there must be a correct time interval between use, eg every 8 hours, which means that at regular intervals of 8 hours the medicine should be taken on time (7:00, 14:00, 22:00). Any skipping a dose or prolonging the time of administration contributes to an increase in resistance.
Antibiotic treatment takes at least five to seven days. Therapy should not be interrupted after the first significant improvement since there is a possibility of bacterial relapse, which means that you will develop the same disease again. These bacteria were not completely destroyed by the use of antibiotics, but were exposed and may have developed a cure for the drug. So, now they are resistant to the antibiotic you originally used. This can lead to the disease being no longer curable with any medication. Therefore, antibiotics should be drunk long enough and in the right dose. The prescribed therapy should be taken whole because only then are they effective in treating bacterial infections.
It often happens that due to similar symptoms, the patient begins to re-drink the remaining antibiotics from previous therapy, which is wrong and this behavior leads to increased resistance.
When to take an antibiotic
Take the antibiotic when prescribed by your pharmacist, or if he/she concludes that you have a bacterial infection and makes an accurate diagnosis before prescribing antibiotics. Obtaining a correct diagnosis involves a previously made throat, nose, blood or urine swab and antibiogram preparation. The antibiogram will clearly indicate which bacterium is at stake and which antibiotics are susceptible. Only then can your pharmacist include bacteria-targeted therapy. This avoids the possibility of unnecessarily taking an antibiotic that in this case would not be effective and whose administration would go away without any positive effects. If treatment is to be started immediately, your pharmacist will prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics based on your knowledge of the likely causes and location of the infection. Such therapy is called empirical. Therefore, it is very important to follow the rule that you do not take antibiotics arbitrarily and by heart.
Antibiotics suppress infections caused by pathogenic bacteria that cause inflammation of the lungs and urinary tract, intestinal infections and inflammation of the tonsils. Sometimes the use of an antibiotic simply cannot be avoided and it is best to take these medicines immediately and without hesitation. Cases when the body temperature is higher than 39 ° C, when no improvement occurs after five days, when the cough is prolonged, dry and painful and when there are difficulties in breathing, require immediate intervention.
When not to take an antibiotic
In the absence of a bacterial infection by a pharmacist, there is no need for antibiotics. They should not be taken by heart, on the recommendation of a non-professional person who has similar symptoms or in case of any increase in body temperature. They are not medicines for regulating temperature (antipyretics), nor are medicines for cough and sore throat. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they are effective only in bacterial infections and for a specific bacterial strain. In the case of a viral infection, taking antibiotics actually destroys the so-called good bacteria, the normal bacteria of our body, weakens the body’s defenses and allows the virus to work harder.
Antibiotics can be harmful to the body if you decide on your own therapy and length of treatment. More resistant bacteria may survive and become immune to the drug.
The most common side effects that may occur are, for example: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, skin rash and itching, problems with urination, dizziness and headache, fungi on the skin and mucous membranes, joint and muscle pain.
They can also cause more severe side effects such as toxicity. Eg. aminoglycosic antibiotics can lead to kidney and hearing damage. They can also have adverse effects on the liver, central nervous system and kidneys.
- Take antibiotics only as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist
- Take antibiotics exclusively with water or tea
- Do not interrupt therapy regardless of improvement
- Take antibiotics at the right time
- Uncontrolled use of antibiotics prevents our body from engaging its own immune forces, which eventually develops resistance to these drugs when they can no longer help us to cure the disease
- Antibiotics are not drugs for the treatment of flu and colds
- An antibiotic is not a cure for every sore throat
- Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viral ones
- An antibiotic is not a medicine to lower your body temperature
- Misuse of antibiotics reduces their effectiveness
- The antibiotic should only be used when determining the causative agent, ie on the basis of the antibiogram
- Incorrect use of antibiotics creates resistant bacteria
- The antibiotic should only be taken at the recommendation of a physician, at regular intervals, long enough and at the right dose.
- Taking antibiotics before an infection occurs will not save us from infection
- Do not share the prescribed antibiotic with others – this is just for you
- Take a full dose of antibiotics and do not store for later
Irena is a dentist from Croatia, working extensively in her field, but she also has a high interest in the fields of fitness, nutrition and medicine in general. She has been educating herself about how to lead a healthy lifestyle for years. She seeks to help people adopt healthy habits as well as healthy and positive thinking about life. In her spare time, she hikes, runs, plays saxophone and guitar, and develops her own websites – Salubrius Vita and GoalDigger. Her life motto is: When they expect a lot from you, you do even more.