Antibiotics are life-saving medications for many bacterial infections. Misuse of these drugs may result in developing drug resistant bacteria. Therefore, understanding the use and misuse of antibiotics is very important in preventing antibiotic resistance. There are different types of antibiotics, and each one of them is applicable for a different type of bacteria. Their method of action also differs considerably. One should strictly follow the doctor’s recommendation with respect to what type of antibiotics is ideal for a particular infection and how they should be taken. If the antibiotics stop working against a particular bacteria, it is referred to as antibiotics resistance. This may extend the period of the illness and the infection may become difficult to treat.
Antibiotics are not recommended for viral infections. Thus, antibiotics are not suggested for common colds, influenza, runny noses, and sore throats that are not caused by bacteria. One of the most important aspects that you need to remember is that taking antibiotics unnecessarily may reduce its effectiveness when you need antibiotics the most. It gradually helps to develop a bacteria that is resistant to that particular antibiotic. This is dangerous as antibiotic-resistant bacteria may result in more serious infections. In most cases, one may be forced to go for a stronger antibiotic to control the same infection. The new antibiotic may have more severe side effects than the earlier one.
A more serious effect of antibiotic misuse is the spread of antibiotic-resistant species in the family or the community. Bacterial infections may then result in more costly and difficult to cure infections. Thus, using antibiotics when it is not needed is more harmful than thought. Some of the common side effects of antibiotics are nausea, diarrhea and stomach pain. Antibiotics may kill the normal, harmless bacteria in intestine and result in a type of colitis, a condition characterized by swelling and irritation of the colon. Taking antibiotics without doctor’s knowledge may also lead to dangerous allergic reaction.
- Ask the physician whether antibiotics are needed and if yes, which one would be better
- Avoid using antibiotics prescribed for a different disease
- Take vaccinations on time to avoid serious illnesses
- Avoid insisting on having antibiotics when not needed
- Follow the directions given by the physician about the dosage and timing of antibiotics
- Complete the course of antibiotics given and not to stop once symptoms of illness reduce