In the United States alone, thousands of antibiotic resistance-related deaths brought about by the increasing infections happen annually. One of the leading causes of such incident is giving out wrong or unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.
This then calls for an emphasis on the need for heightened awareness of appropriate management of antibiotics, especially in resistance and prescription. Nowadays, inaccurate information and myths about antibiotic use have spread anywhere, be it through word of mouth, social media, and even on television.
This is a matter that must be taken seriously since the health of many people will be at stake if wrong actions are not corrected and misconceptions are not clarified. Read through the commonly-asked questions about antibiotics below.
Antibiotics: What are these?
These are potent medicines that are prescribed to combat infections that are caused by bacteria. Although doctors commonly prescribe them as a cure for infections, not all antibiotics are used for such purposes only. They may be prescribed in some surgeries or any changes in an individual's immune system. One example is cancer treatment chemotherapy.
Do antibiotics cure every symptom, illness, or disease?
This question right here should be clarified immediately to stop the notion of antibiotics solving almost every medical problem that exists. Unfortunately, they do not.
First, antibiotics cannot cure diseases, illnesses, and symptoms caused by viruses like colds, sore throat, flu, and mild lung infections. But this doesn't mean that you have a runny nose or a lot of accumulated mucus in your nose; you need to take them. This is because your immune system is built to counter viruses, specifically the white blood cells. The mucus is then built up from the virus cells already taken care of by the white blood cells.
Also, there are instances where you will exhibit bacteria-caused symptoms like sinus and ear infections, but there's no immediate need for antibiotic intake.
Are side effects typical when taking antibiotics?
Yes, side effects are common scenarios that happen after antibiotic intake. Some of these occur in diarrhea, sore stomach, and various allergic reactions like rashes, hives, itching, blisters, and skin inflammation. Difficulty in breathing is also a side effect of antibiotics.
More severe side effects include C. difficile infection, a kind of bacteria born from unsanitary spaces or contaminated areas. This causes diarrhea and, if left untreated, may affect other organs like the colon and would eventually lead to death.
Another profound side effect would be the building up of bacterial resistance against antibiotics. Usage of antibiotics may even contribute to the development of infections. They will become resistant to whatever antibiotic is given due to the defense that has been built to counter it and will take a lot more effort to eliminate them.
Why do I have to rely on the doctor's antibiotic prescription before intake?
Antibiotics are not some medicine that you can buy on the counter without any permission from doctors or any medical professional. They require a correct and careful prescription and should not be given without your doctor's careful observation of your health condition. For instance, if you are taking high cholesterol medication, then your doctor needs to know this crucial information before prescribing you certain antibiotics.
Furthermore, your body's response to certain antibiotics after intake should be monitored since the side effects could also contribute to the deterioration of your health. Thus, if they're prescribed hastily and utilized wrongly, they will only be wasted and can cause serious harm to your health. That's why they should be given out to patients only when necessary.
Once my body recovers from the infection, should I stop the antibiotic intake already?
As much as possible, follow what your healthcare provider has prescribed precisely to you. This is to avoid returning the existence of the infection inside your body.
To prevent the development of antibiotic resistance to infections, medical professionals are instructed to prescribe a shorter duration for antibiotic therapy. However, if you're experiencing multiple side effects brought by the antibiotics, inform your provider immediately so that they can identify right away the effects and ways to address them.
Antibiotics are created to help you recover from a bacterial infection brought by harmful bacteria. But, take note you must be cautious with the prescription and intake. Your doctor should be able to examine your medical condition well to decide the appropriate kind of antibiotics your system needs.
Also, a patient should be responsible for their own health, thus transparency regarding one’s overall condition and current medications should be mentioned during checkups. Lastly, It should be clear by now that antibiotics are different from over-the-counter medicine. This also means you might experience possible side effects, which you need to check from time to time and report once you feel irregularities in breathing or allergies.