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Antibiotics. Important Basics
People meet with millions of microorganisms daily. Most of them are harmless, but some bacteria may provoke serious diseases with even more serious complications. Only antibiotics can cope with these infections.
What are Antibiotics and When Should They be Used?
Antibiotics are antimicrobial agents that are used in the therapy of acute and chronic bacterial infections provoked by various types of these microorganisms. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Therefore, they shouldn’t be applied to treat viral infections.
These medications shouldn’t be applied without the doctor’s prescription because of the possibility of experiencing side effects. Besides, not all antibiotics are equally effective against different types of bacteria. Therefore, only a specialist can determine the needed preparation and the dose, which would be both effective and safe.
A common problem, which appeared because of the uncontrolled use of antibiotics is antibiotics resistance. People, who ignore the recommendations of the specialists and take these medications without need, develop tolerance to antibacterial therapy. Thus, they risk dying because of the infection that won’t respond to antibiotics.
The use of antimicrobial preparations can be justified in several cases:
- To treat infections that are likely to provoke severe complications;
- To speed up the recovery from the disease caused by bacterial infection;
- To cure the conditions that are not dangerous to life but are not likely to resolve without antibiotics;
- To get rid of the infections that can be transmitted to healthy people;
- To prevent the development of infections after a serious surgery or skin large area trauma.
Antibiotics Classes and Mechanism of Action
The way antibiotics affect bacterial infection depends on the type of medication used. Some antibiotics are targeted at preventing the growth of the bacteria, whereas others harm the bacterial function leading to their death.
Antibiotics belonging to different classes have a different effect on the bacteria:
- Penicillins and cephalosporins destroy the bacteria cell wall, thus preventing its growth. These antibiotics are most widely used. They have a broad spectrum of action, which means that they can be applied against bacteria provoking skin, renal, respiratory tract, and lung infections.
- Rifamycins are applied for the therapy of severe infections such as tuberculosis.
- Macrolide antibiotics are effective in the treatment of the infections of soft tissues and respiratory tract infections, including pneumonia.
- Lincosamides are a class of antibiotics, which is commonly applied to the patients allergic to penicillins. They are effective to treat acne, dental infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc.
How to Take Antibiotics?
The main rule when it goes about antibiotics intake is that they should be prescribed by a doctor. The needed dose of the medication is calculated based on the severity of the infection, the patients’ health condition, and their weight.
Most antibiotics should be taken twice or three times a day. The course of treatment depends on the patients’ response to the therapy and the class of antibiotics used. For mild to moderate infections, the treatment with penicillin or cephalosporin, for example, will usually last for at least 5 – 7 days. Some preparations may be taken for three days, but it’s only a doctor who can determine the needed period of taking the drug.
Don’t stop the treatment if you feel better after a day or two of antibiotics intake. It is important to complete the prescribed course of the therapy, to make sure the infection is killed. If you miss the dose, don’t take an extra pill to catch up. Restore your graphic of the drug intake and try to avoid such situations further.
Taking the treatment from bacterial infection, don’t drink alcohol. It is proven that alcohol-containing beverages may intensify some unwanted effects of antibiotics. We now speak about nausea, vomiting, and some other reactions.
Besides, both alcohol and antibiotics possess some liver and kidneys-toxic effect. Therefore, their concomitant intake may seriously harm your health.