Antibiotics: Uses, Side-Effects & Warnings

Most of us heard about the term that is antibiotics in the medical language. When you got ill, the doctors would recommend this along with your other medicines for your recovery. 

But What are these antibiotics do in our body and how do they help us or maybe other queries related to antibiotics?  These are some questions that will definitely come to your mind.

Antibiotics are usually safe and powerful drugs. They are very helpful in fighting diseases, but sometimes antibiotics are indeed harmful.

In this blog, you will get all the necessary information about antibiotics. So let’s begin.

What are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are medicines that are used to fight against infections caused by bacteria. They are also called antibacterial drugs. They treat infections by killing or reducing the growth of bacteria in the body.

The first type of antibiotic was penicillin. Penicillin-based antibiotics, such as ampicillin, amoxicillin, and penicillin G, are still used to treat various infections and have been around for a long time.

Not all infections are treated with antibiotics. Although antibiotics may be effective for infections caused by bacteria, they are not effective for viruses.

There are several classes of antibiotics  Some types of antibiotics work best for specific types of bacterial infections. Antibiotics come in many forms, including:

  • Tablets
  • Capsules
  • Liquids
  • Creams
  • Ointments

Types of Antibiotics

The following are different types of antibiotics:

Penicillins

They are widely used to treat various infections, including:

  • Skin infections
  • Chest infections
  • Urinary tract infections

Cephalosporins

They are used to treat a vast range of infections. Some of them are also effective for treating more serious infections, such as:

  • Septicemia
  • Meningitis

Aminoglycosides

They are commonly used in hospitals to treat very serious diseases such as sepsis. This is because they can cause serious side effects such as hearing loss and kidney damage. They can also be given in the form of drops for some ear or eye infections. They are usually given by injection.

Macrolides

They are particularly useful for treating lung and chest infections. Macrolides are used as an alternative for people with penicillin allergies. It can also be used to treat penicillin-resistant strains of bacteria. 

Tetracyclines

They can be used to treat a vast range of infections. They are generally used to treat moderate to severe acne and rosacea.

Fluoroquinolones 

These are broad-spectrum antibiotics that can be used to treat a variety range of infections.

Uses

  • The doctor prescribes antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infection. It is not effective against viruses.
  • Knowing whether the infection is bacterial or viral helps to treat it effectively.
  • Viruses cause most upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), such as colds and flu. Antibiotics don’t work against these viruses.
  • If people use too much. antibiotics or use them incorrectly, the bacteria can become resistant. This means that the antibiotic becomes less effective against this type of bacteria because the bacterium has been able to improve its protection.
  • A doctor may prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic to treat a wide range of infections. A narrow-spectrum antibiotic is effective only against several types of bacteria.
  • Some antibiotics attack aerobic bacteria, while others act against anaerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria need oxygen, but anaerobic bacteria do not need it.

Side effects

Following are the side effects of antibiotics:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Upset stomach
  • With some antibiotics or prolonged use, fungal infections of the oral cavity, digestive tract, and vagina

Warnings and Precautions

Following are the warnings and precautions of antibiotics:

  • Since allergies to certain antibiotics, such as penicillins and sulfonamides, are common, it is always useful to find out which class or subclass the antibiotic prescribed to you belongs.
  • Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, be sure to finish taking all the antibiotics prescribed to you ( even if you start to feel better).
  • This is extremely important to make sure that the infection has completely disappeared. If you do not complete the full course of treatment, the infection may still be present and the symptoms may return.
  • It is also possible that the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor may not work as well or at all because the bacteria may have become resistant to the original drug.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotics are powerful drugs that work very well for certain types of diseases. However, some antibiotics are now less useful than they used to be due to the increase in antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria can no longer be controlled or destroyed by specific antibiotics. In some cases, there are no effective treatments for certain conditions.

More than 2.8 million cases of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are reported each year, resulting in at least 35,000 deaths.

Resistance can occur when antibiotics are taken for diseases that are not caused by bacteria, such as:

  • Cold
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Viral gastroenteritis (“stomach flu”)
  • Most coughs
  • Most sore throats

Conclusion

Antibiotics are most effective when used correctly. It starts with making sure you really need antibiotics. Use only antibiotic which is prescribed by your doctor to treat bacterial infections.

Antibiotics should also be taken in the prescribed amount and during the specified period of treatment. You may feel better within a few days of starting the antibiotic, but you should consult with your doctor before stopping treatment ahead of time.

Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist the best way to take antibiotics.

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