Antibiotics, since they first debuted in the early 20th century, have saved countless lives. However, their overuse in medicine and in modern agriculture and misuse by patients has caused problems. One of these is antibiotic-resistant bacteria, of increasing concern to the medical community. Misuse can also lead to health problems like yeast infections or poor digestion, since antibiotics can kill off “good” bacteria along with the “bad”. Read below to find out more.
1. Antibiotics do not Treat all Infections
Antiobiotics treat infections that are caused by bacteria. They are not effective against those caused by viruses or other pathogens. Many believe that antibiotics will help treat infections like the cold or flu, but because these are viral, for instance, they will not help to shorten the duration of the illness. The best treatment for viruses remains rest and adequate fluids.
2. It it Necessary to Finish a Complete Round of Antibiotics
Many people will only take antibiotics until their symptoms resolve. However, it is necessary to take the complete round and use all the pills to make sure that the infection has been completely wiped out. Taking only a partial round can also help promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
3. Antibiotics Should be Taken at Regular Intervals
If an antibiotic, for example, needs to be taken three times a day, do not take all 3 pills all at once, but space them out in even intervals of 8 hours. Taking this
medication at appropriate intervals will make it more effective at treating the infection.
4. There is a Difference between Broad- and Narrow-Spectrum Antibiotics
Antibiotics can be roughly separated into 2 general categories: broad- and narrow-spectrum. Oftentimes, when antibiotics are prescribed at the doctor’s office, the doctor will run tests such as a sputum sample to determine what kind of bacteria is causing the infection. While waiting for results, a broad-spectrum antibiotic which can kill many different kinds of bacteria will be given. Once results come back, a narrow-spectrum antibiotic (one tailored to the bacteria) may be prescribed.
5. It is Best to Take Antibiotics with Water
Water remains the best thing with which to take antibiotics. This will promote hydration and help the body fight off infection. Also, some antibiotics should not be taken with drinks like milk ciprofloxican for example, as it interferes with how effectiveness. Antibiotics should never be taken with alcohol. This can effect how long it will take for the medicine to break down and be excreted from the body.
6. It is Dangerous to take Someone Else’s Antibiotics
Many people will only take some of their prescribed antibiotics, put them in their medicine cabinet, then let a family member borrow them later. This is very dangerous. Not everyone will react the same way to the same medication and the borrowed antibiotic may not even treat the new infection. Going to the doctor for a new prescription is always best.
7. Antibiotics are not Birth Control Pills!
While some antibiotics do have the side effect of preventing conception, long-term use of them for this purpose is dangerous. Instead, use contraception like birth control pills or intra-uterine devices that have been medically approved to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Antibiotics, if used appropriately, still have great therapeutic power. Keeping these guidelines in mind will help to use them safely and avoid potentially serious complications that can arise from misuse.
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