Important Information About Antibiotics
For thousands of years, mankind has been exposed to infectious diseases that were the main cause of death. In 1929, English microbiologist A. Fleming discovered the first antibiotic, penicillin. This was one of the most outstanding discoveries of the 20th century. A new era has begun in biology and medicine – the era of antibiotics. Since the 40s, drugs that kill or impede the growth of microorganisms have been widely included in medical practice. The ability of antibiotics to successfully fight fatal infectious diseases was perceived as a panacea. Unfortunately, the number of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms is steadily increasing every year. This is largely due to the fact that many people use antibiotics at their discretion. Merrion Pharmacy has prepared some things you must know about antibiotics before you start treatment.
Things you need to know about antibiotics
Antibiotics do not kill viruses
Antibiotics are effective only for bacterial infectious diseases, that is, for diseases caused by bacteria.
The majority of the population uses such drugs for colds, fever, intestinal upset, which is not only completely meaningless and useless but also harmful.
Antibiotics are completely useless in the following health conditions:
- SARS, flu – these conditions are caused by viruses for which antibiotics have no effect;
- elevated temperature – antibiotics neither antipyretic no analgesic drugs;
- inflammatory processes – antibiotics do not have anti-inflammatory action;
- cough – there are many reasons for coughing: viral infections, allergies, bronchial asthma, bronchial hypersensitivity to environmental stimuli and many others, and only a small proportion of cough is associated with microorganisms;
- intestinal upset – it is not necessary that this condition is a sign of intestinal infection. Violation of the stool can be caused by many reasons, ranging from simple intolerance to any product and ending with food toxic infection – when not the pathogen enters the body but the toxin produced by it. In addition, it should be noted that most intestinal infections are caused by viruses, but even if the causative agent is bacteria, the use of antibiotics often increases the duration of the disease.
When you need antibiotics
Such drugs are usually prescribed to treat acute forms of bacterial infections occurring against the background of high temperature and other factors that can seriously threaten the health and life of the patient:
- intestinal infections (typhoid fever, dysentery, salmonellosis, etc.);
- bacterial diseases of the nasopharynx (otitis media, tonsillitis, rhinopharyngitis, etc.);
- urinary tract infections (acute cystitis, pyelonephritis, etc.);
- sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc.).
It is necessary to use antibiotics according to strict indications and only when the doctor makes the diagnosis of an infectious disease.
All drugs of this class, unfortunately, are not universal and are not harmless. Each antibiotic has its own spectrum of action, i.e. affects only certain microorganisms sensitive to it. Only a doctor can determine which antibiotic is needed for a particular disease.
Self-medication with antibiotics contributes to the spread of infections (eg, syphilis). Independent use of antibiotics can lead to the “erasure” of signs of the disease, and it will be very difficult (or even impossible) to identify it. This is especially true for suspected acute abdomen when the patient’s life depends on the correct and timely diagnosis. Ineffective antibiotic treatment can lead to a chronic course of the disease (gonorrhea, chlamydia, intestinal infections).
Observe the dose and treatment duration
Only a doctor can determine the required dose and duration of antibiotic use.
Despite the detailed instructions accompanying almost all medicines, there are many factors that can be considered only by a doctor. So, a small dose or a short course can lead to the development of resistance of the microorganism to the antibiotic, and in this case, the treatment will have to be started anew. Remember that improving one’s well-being or a decrease in temperature is not a reason to cancel an antibiotic since only a full course of treatment can lead to a cure.
Excess doses or too long a course can have a toxic effect on the body. In addition, many people suffer from diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys, nervous system, diabetes, etc. and are forced to take other medicines almost constantly. Only a doctor can take into account possible interactions between the drugs and select the antibiotic that is the safest for a particular person.
Medical observation required!
You can only use antibiotics under the supervision of a doctor and you must inform him or her of any changes in well-being during treatment.
When choosing a medication, you should also consider the possible side effects that it has since there are no drugs without side effects. These can be allergy, idiosyncrasy, toxic effects on the kidneys, liver, blood and more. In most cases, side effects occur rarely. However, serious drug companies always point out possible undesirable changes in the patient’s condition, even if they probably were not associated with this drug. Only a doctor can assess the true risk associated with the use of a particular drug and decide whether to continue treatment, discontinue the drug, or consider additional treatment.
DO NOT use expired drugs!
In expired drugs (especially tetracyclines), the likelihood of side effects increases significantly. It is very difficult to predict how the drug will behave in the body. Expired medicine will do more harm than good.
Use with caution
Antibiotics should be used with particular caution in children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women.
You should know that many common and “popular” antibiotics (tetracycline, doxycycline, chloramphenicol, etc.) are prohibited for use in children, pregnant and lactating women. They have a toxic effect on the fetus and child.
“A case-by-case basis”
The doctor prescribes antibiotics in each case individually. Do not ask the doctor to prescribe such drugs. The doctor knows better which drug is used in this situation and why it is more correct to prescribe a drug of a narrower spectrum of exposure.
Antibiotics that helped your neighbor / girlfriend will not necessarily help your child.
Antibiotics that helped last time will not necessarily help this time, and they are not necessarily needed right now.
Remember: an antibiotic is not a vitamin; it cannot be administered without a serious reason. Each antibiotic course contributes to the development of the body’s resistance to it. This means that in the future it may be much more difficult for a person to fight infection. Self-treatment is life-threatening, you must contact your doctor for advice on the use of any drugs!