An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria and is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections. Antibiotic medications are widely used in the treatment and prevention of such infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria and can save lives when used properly. Though antibiotics are great for bacterial infections, they do not work on viruses, like the flu.
Our White blood cells (WBCs) attack harmful bacteria and, even if symptoms do occur, the immune system can usually cope and fight off the infection. Sometimes, however, the number of harmful bacteria is excessive, and the immune system cannot fight them all. Antibiotics are useful in this scenario. The first antibiotic was penicillin. Penicillin-based antibiotics, such as ampicillin, amoxicillin, and penicillin G, are still available to treat a variety of infections and have been around for a long time.
Several types of modern antibiotics are available, and they are usually only available with a prescription in most countries. Topical antibiotics are available in over-the-counter (OTC) creams and ointments.
A healthcare professional prescribes antibiotics for the treatment of a bacterial infection. It is not effective against viruses. Knowing whether an infection is bacterial or viral helps to effectively treat it. Viruses cause most upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), such as the common cold, flu or sore throat cause by a virus.
However, a sore throat and strep throat are 2 very different things. Antibiotics such as amoxicillin, cephalexin, or penicillin are used to treat strep throat. Antibiotics work only against bacterial infections such as strep throat. They will not help sore throats caused by allergies or viral infections such as colds.
Also, a virus causes an ear infection, in which case antibiotics won't help. If, based on the history, your doctor suspects that bacteria may have caused the infection, she will prescribe an antibiotic. You may also talk to your doctor about things you can do at home.
Viruses insert their genetic material into a human cell's DNA in order to reproduce. Antibiotics cannot kill viruses because bacteria and viruses have different mechanisms and machinery to survive and replicate. The antibiotic has no “target” to attack in a virus. So, If people overuse antibiotics or use them incorrectly, a bacterial infection might become resistant. This means that the antibiotic becomes less effective against that type of bacterium, as the bacterium has been able to improve its defenses.
A doctor can prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic to treat a wide range of infections. A narrow-spectrum antibiotic is only effective against a few types of bacteria.
Some antibiotics attack aerobic bacteria, while others work against anaerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria need oxygen and anaerobic bacteria do not.
There are different types of antibiotics, which work in one of two ways:
Antibiotics can cause bacteria to develop resistance to treatment, for example, and destroy healthy flora in the gut. Now, a new study from Case Western Reserve University shows that antibiotics can damage immune cells and worsen oral infections. Also, Taking antibiotics too often or for the wrong reasons can change bacteria so much that antibiotics don't work against them. This is called bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance. Some bacteria are now resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. The Center for Disease Control states: Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. For at least 23,000 people this is life threatening and they die as a result.
Antibiotics commonly cause the following side effects:
Less common side effects of antibiotics include:
Some people, especially older adults, may experience bowel inflammation, which can lead to severe, bloody diarrhea.
In less common instances, penicillins, cephalosporins, and erythromycin can also cause inflamed bowels.
Firstly, always take antibiotics as directed by you healthcare professional. Some people may develop an allergic reaction to antibiotics, especially penicillins. Side effects might include a rash, swelling of the tongue and face, and difficulty breathing. Allergic reactions to antibiotics might be immediate or delayed hypersensitivity reactions.
Anyone who has an allergic reaction to an antibiotic must tell their doctor or pharmacist. Reactions to antibiotics can be serious and life threatening. They are called anaphylactic reactions. People with reduced liver or kidney function should be cautious when using antibiotics. This may affect the types of antibiotics they can use or the dose they receive. Likewise, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should speak with a doctor about the best.
Always follow instructions for the specific antibiotic you are prescribed. Also, your pharmacist should be available to go over any pertinent details about your medication. People usually take antibiotics by mouth. However, doctors can administer them by injection or apply them directly to the part of the body with infection.Most antibiotics start combating infection within a few hours. Complete the whole course of medication to prevent the return of the infection.
Stopping the medication before the course has finished increases the risk that the bacteria will become resistant to future treatments. The ones that survive will have had some exposure to the antibiotic and may consequently develop resistance to it.
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