Antibiotics: how they work, side effects and popular myths

Health Tips

When Antibiotics Don’t Work

Antibiotics inhibit the growth of bacteria in the human body and thereby stop the dangerous inflammatory process. The antibiotic was first developed by Alexander Fleming from the fungus penicilla in 1928. His discovery truly changed the life of mankind, for which the scientist received the Nobel Prize. Thanks to the medicine, it became possible to treat pneumonia, syphilis, tuberculosis, meningitis and a number of other deadly infections. Saved were, without exaggeration, millions of lives.

To this day, antibiotics are used to prevent and treat bacterial infectious diseases. However, more and more infectious pathologies are becoming more difficult to treat due to the decrease in the effectiveness of antibiotics. Bacteria become less susceptible to drugs. And in many respects thanks to our actions, patients. It is also worth saying that a number of stereotypes have developed around these medicines. So, some believe that any pills are, in principle, “chemistry” and “the body itself must fight!” Others consider it possible to use antibiotics without consulting a doctor or drop a prescribed course halfway through, as soon as the symptoms of the disease have passed. Or drink antibiotics for viral diseases, for example, SARS, flu. Both approaches are wrong.

When to take, possible side effects

Let’s analyze when the need to take antibiotics becomes clear already at home:

  • keeps high temperature with chills;

  • a cold does not go away for a week (with a prolonged cold, viruses kill the villi of the respiratory tract mucosa, so the pathways for microbes to enter the body become open);

  • green thick snot (may appear due to a bacterial infection);

  • with pain and pain during urination (may indicate cystitis, which arose due to the penetration of Escherichia coli into the bladder);

  • with a white coating on the tonsils, which indicates a sore throat.

Antibiotics should be prescribed by the attending physician, who will find out if you have allergies, chronic diseases, sensitivity to one or another component, and determine the phase of the disease. Side effects of taking antibiotics can include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If the dosage is insufficient, then the bacteria will become more resistant to the drug, an overdose threatens with poisoning, increased stress on the liver. Finally, an incorrectly selected drug will not affect the causative agent of the disease. If you stop drinking antibiotics ahead of time, as soon as the body begins to recover, the bacteria will not die completely, but they will mutate and adapt to the drug – next time it will not work or will not have the proper effect. And new antibiotics don’t come along very often.

We add that with caution it is worth using antibiotics for pregnant women – it is highly undesirable in the first trimester, when the organs of the unborn child are laid. Women in position are allowed to drink the least toxic antibiotics, such as penicillins.

What to ask the doctor when receiving a prescription

When receiving a prescription from a doctor, it is worth asking him a number of questions. For example, what foods should not be combined with medicines. In particular, tetracycline cannot be combined with dairy products – the absorption of the drug is impaired. Also, everyone heard that when taking antibiotics, it is highly undesirable to drink alcoholic beverages. Why? The body receives a toxic effect, the enzyme systems are blocked – a pronounced allergic reaction is possible, the symptoms of which will be nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, rash. This does not always happen, but when some antibiotics are mixed with alcohol (for example, cephalosporins, metronidazole, biseptol). Your doctor should ask if you are currently taking other medications.

It is worth knowing how antibiotics are combined with combined oral contraceptives. So that it doesn’t happen that, while taking birth control pills, they “suddenly” became pregnant.

Many antibiotics stimulate liver enzymes, so they begin to break down hormones intensely. As a result, their concentration in the blood decreases, and with it the contraceptive effectiveness. Surely the doctor will advise when taking medications (not all) to use additional funds.

Some who took antibiotics reported diarrhea. The cause may be an activated bacterium of the large intestine, which, under certain conditions, begins to actively multiply and can become a pathogenic microbe. Then you will need to drink antimicrobial drugs that will restrain the growth of bacteria. In case of a similar problem, you should hurry to the doctor if the diarrhea does not go away two to three days after taking the drugs. In some cases, antibiotics have to be taken for a long time (for example, with tuberculosis), which means that care must be taken not to harm the liver and aggravate chronic diseases. The so-called check-up is required. In particular, do a biochemical blood test.

Is there a difference between pills and injections

Why are some antibiotics prescribed in the form of tablets, capsules (in most cases), and others – in the form of injections? It is important to know that the effectiveness of both is the same. Intravenous antibiotics are administered when you need to quickly reach a high concentration of the drug in the blood. Often in critical situations. Also, if for some reason the patient cannot swallow, an injectable form of the drug is used.

Finally, WHO officials, as part of the World Antibacterial Week, emphasize the role of doctors themselves in protecting patients from infections that can be acquired by the latter in hospitals and clinics. There are many cases when patients acquire infections during their stay in the hospital. And this means that special attention should be paid to the hygiene of the hands of doctors, the treatment of floors and surfaces. Of course, this is part of the life of any healthcare institution. Nevertheless, in front of you, the physician must disinfect his hands before contact with the patient, before preparing injections (injection), after contact with body fluids; after contact with the patient. Especially in a pandemic.


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