Joybynature.com Team


Everybody has had their share of antibiotics but most of us do not know exactly what are antibiotics and what do they do. Antibiotics are drugs or medications that are prescribed to treat illness and infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics help the body to recover from the infection or illness by either killing the bacteria or suppressing the multiplication of bacteria. Usually, we get sick when virus attacks our body and we take medications. But these medicines are not antibiotics as antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses. The use of antibiotics is preferred only when the bacterial infection has been diagnosed. If this is not the case, the dosage of antibiotic cannot be decided. It is essential to get an antibiotic prescription from a doctor before starting taking it as the doctor can prescribe the exact time for which the antibiotic can be taken to completely kill the bacteria that caused the illness or infection. If the antibiotic dosage is not taken as prescribed or one stops taking the antibiotic early the bacteria will resurface again and cause infection or illness.

Antibiotics can be taken when natural remedies do not work well and fail to fight against infections and illness. Antibiotics can be taken in one of the following forms.

  1. Oral antibiotics include tablets, pills, capsules or liquids that are prescribed to cure mild infections or illness.
  2. Topical antibiotics include lotions, creams and sprays and are usually used to treat skin infections.
  3. Antibiotic injections can be infused directly into the blood or muscle or these can be infused via a drip. The use of antibiotic injections is done to treat serious health problems.

Types of antibiotics and what do they treat?

Antibiotics can be broadly classified into six groups as follows:

  1. Penicillin: This category of antibiotics is used to treat infections of various types including chest infections and urinary tract infections.
  2. Cephalosporin: The antibiotics of this category are used to cure serious infections like meningitis and septicemia.
  3. Tetracycline: These antibiotics are usually used to treat infections of the skin. They are used to treat moderate to severe acne and a problem called rosacea that causes spots on the skin.
  4. Amino-glycosides: These antibiotics are used to treat only very severe infections and are given by injections. These antibiotics have adverse health effects and may cause hearing loss and kidney damage. These can also be used as drops for some ear or eye infections.
  5. Macrolide: These antibiotics are used for treating various chest and lung infections. Macrolide can be used an alternative to penicillin for those who have an infection to penicillin or have developed resistance to it.
  6. Fluor- quinolone: These antibiotics are broad spectrum antibiotics that can treat a wide range of infectious diseases causes by bacteria.

Side effects of antibiotics

Antibiotics are taken to treat bacterial infections in the body. However, these must be taken only in the prescribed dosage as these are known to have the following side effects.

  1. Allergies
  2. Stomach upset
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Rashes
  5. Vaginal itching or discharge
  6. White patches on tongue
  7. Swelling of face or lips
  8. Fainting

Considerations while taking antibiotics

The overuse of antibiotics can lead to a condition called antibiotic resistance. This can happen when some bacteria change and overtime stop responding to antibiotics. Antibiotics may even kill the harmless bacteria that thrive in the body and this helps the resistant bacteria to multiply and replace the good bacteria. Most people get antibiotics for common cold and flu which are viral infections and cannot be treated by antibiotics. This further increases antibiotic resistance. The development of resistant bacteria in the body can lead to life threatening health conditions or superbugs which cannot be treated by antibiotics. Therefore, it becomes essential to take antibiotics in the prescribed dosage and only for bacterial infections and illness.

In rare cases, the use of antibiotics is known to cause a severe and life threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This is caused when an antibiotic results in rapid heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, a sudden drop in blood pressure and unconsciousness. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and a patient must be taken to a doctor or hospital instantaneously.

Antibiotics are prescribed depending upon the medical history and condition of a person and every antibiotic is not meant for everybody. So, one must avoid borrowing antibiotics or take antibiotics prescribed to someone else even if the illness or infection symptoms are the same.


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