Antibiotics are antimicrobial drugs that are used to treat bacterial infections. It kills and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria inside our bodies. These medicines can’t treat viral infections like colds, flu, cough or sore throat, etc.
Why are antibiotics needed?
Although our body has an organ system known as an immune system to fight against microbes, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens sometimes it requires additional help to cure the bacterial infection in a short time. Antibiotics help in clearing the bacteria out of the body.
Penicillin was the first antibiotic but later on, it was found that many patients are allergic to this antibiotic, therefore, other safe alternatives have been discovered for penicillin-allergic patients. These alternatives were ampicillin, amoxicillin, benzylpenicillin etc. There are many other antibiotics but a doctor’s prescription is essential in order to use them.
How does it work?
There are mainly two methods by which antibiotics affect the bacterial population and these are:
- Antibiotics interfere the reproduction of bacteria and stop its growth inside the body
- These medicines dissolve the cell wall of the bacterial cell and thus kill the bacteria.
Types of antibiotics
Broad spectrum antibiotics – Wide range of bacterial infections can be treated by using this type of antibiotic as it works against different type of bacteria.
Narrow-spectrum antibiotics – it is effective against selective strains of bacteria. For example, some narrow-spectrum antibiotics work against aerobic bacteria while some are effective against anaerobic bacteria.
Side effects of antibiotics
Diarrhea and fungal infection in the oral cavity, the digestive system is common side effects. Rare side effects include kidney stones, abnormal blood clotting, blood disorders, hearing problem and sensitivity toward late.
Precautions for antibiotics use
Pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid antibiotics and if it is necessary then doctor’s prescribed antibiotics should be taken. Anybody with reduced or compromised liver and kidney functions should avoid antibiotics.
How to use it
Antibiotics are generally administered into the body by mouth and in case of severe infection; it is injected into the veins to fight the bacterial infection. Bacterial infection on the skin can be treated with the topical use of antibiotics.
One should look out for the diet they are taking while using antibiotics as some food items works against some of the antibiotics. Some antibiotics need to be taken on empty stomach before taking the meal.
What is antibiotic resistance?
Prolong use of antibiotics can develop resistance in the harmful bacteria against the antibiotics. This phenomenon is known as antibiotics resistance.