Antibiotics save millions of lives of adults and children around the world every year. They are strong therapeutic agents that allow doctors to treat even severe bacterial infections. However, patients do not always know how to properly take antibiotics and believe that they can prescribe them to themselves. What can this lead to?
For many, antibiotics are the first aid for colds, flu, diarrhea, and even the common cold. But according to statistics, 9 out of 10 cases of acute respiratory illnesses and 10 out of 10 cases of the flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria.
Are antibiotics effective against viruses and can they help the body cope with a viral infection? No.
However, antibiotics are excellent at dealing with most bacterial infections. But there are several important nuances that everyone should know about.
Antibiotics for adults
There are several bacterial infections, such as bacterial tonsillitis or otitis, salmonellosis, syphilis, dysentery, Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis, etc. Each disease manifests itself with different symptoms and is treated with different groups of antibiotics. This means that it is impossible to cure any bacterial infection with popular ampicillin or amoxicillin.
If you have symptoms of any disease, you need to go to the clinic and take tests to identify the cause of the disease. After this, the doctor will prescribe the appropriate medication and dosage for your specific case.
With the high incidence of COVID-19, the number of self-prescribed antibiotics has also increased. Patients are taking them just in case. We strongly recommend that you do not do this. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, call a doctor and get a prescription from a specialist.
In the laboratory of our medical center, you can take a test for COVID-19 antibodies to find out if you are currently sick or have recently had the disease.
Antibiotics for children
The worst thing a parent can do is to prescribe antibiotics to their child on their own or on the advice of their grandmother, neighbor, or blogger on the internet. The active ingredient and dosage for each child’s age are selected by the doctor based on the disease, the child’s height and weight. It is dangerous to do this without the appropriate knowledge! Self-medication can result in poisoning or hospitalization of the child.
A very common mistake by mothers is to treat their child with antibiotics for the common cold. This is not only ineffective, it can worsen the course of the disease. When symptoms of the common cold appear, the main thing is to restore the balance of electrolytes and fluid loss. In the case of severe symptoms, call a doctor or urgently go to the clinic.
This global problem has made it into the top 10 threats to humanity. The irrational and irresponsible attitude of people towards antibiotics leads to the development of bacteria resistance to certain drugs. That is, if 30 years ago you could be cured by taking antibiotics for only 3-4 days, now it requires 7-8 days.
In the world, there already exist bacteria that are resistant to virtually all groups of antibiotics. These are superbugs that annually claim hundreds of thousands of lives. Therefore, it is worth thinking before you intend to take an antibiotic just in case during a cold.
How to correctly take antibiotics
- Refrain from taking antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription. This is not an aspirin, it is a medication with side effects and a specific spectrum of action on bacteria. It is impossible to intelligently select an antibiotic without medical education because it is necessary to consider the dosage, spectrum of action, accumulation in the body, contraindications, side effects and duration of use.
- Consult a doctor and take analyses for a culture of flora. And remember that many infections are viral in nature and antibiotics are useless against viruses. In some cases, they can even worsen the situation.
- Buy the medication that your doctor prescribed. Ask your doctor about alternatives and the cost of the medication in advance if it is important to you. Clarify the rules and timing of taking the medication, do not stop the prescribed course even if you notice improvement. Some antibiotics need to be taken for 5 days, while others need to be taken for 2 or 3 weeks.
- If you have experienced a pronounced side effect of the medication, stop taking the medication and immediately inform the doctor so that they can choose a different medication for you.
- During the course of antibiotic treatment, add natural fermented dairy products to your diet and increase your intake of vegetables and fruits – these are excellent sources of probiotics and prebiotics. They are important for restoring the intestinal flora, which suffers during antibiotic treatment.
- Local action antibiotics – sprays and ointments – should not be used at your discretion either. Use them as prescribed and within the strictly designated periods prescribed by the doctor to prevent the possibility of the development of resistance.