Most people at some point of their life have been prescribed antibiotics by their doctor. This medicine helps fight against bacterial infections. They function to either kill or keep bacteria from reproducing. For best results, one should continue the use of antibiotics until the cycle is complete, even if they are feeling better. This medication will not help and should not be used to treat the flu, common cold, sore throat, or for a cough because these are not bacterial infections. The actual word “antibiotic” means “against life”. It is a drug that kills germs. This medication was discovered in the 1920s and prior to that time, people actually died from illnesses like strep throat. By the 1940s, antibiotics became more widely available and used, making surgeries safer and helping people live longer. Now, antibiotics are used to treat skin infections, dental infections, ear and sinus infections, strep throat, bladder and kidney infections, and whooping cough.
Our bodies are full of bacteria, both good and bad. Therefore, sometimes the use of antibiotics can cause digestive problems. The gut contains both the good and bad bacteria and taking antibiotics can cause nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. This could mean that you are allergic to a particular antibiotic. It is also important to note that antibiotics can disrupt the efficiency of those who take birth control. Another downfall of this medication is that they are often readily over-prescribed and overused. Bacteria can adapt and resist this medication over time. It is always important to not skip doses, only take them when your doctor has prescribed them, take them for the full number of days prescribed, and don’t save them for later or lend them to someone else.
There are 7 main types of antibiotics. These include penicillin’s, cephalosporins, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, sulfonamides, tetracyclines, and aminoglycosides. Most of the time they have a trade name and brand name. A doctor will determine which to prescribe based on cost, dosing schedule, side effects, type of infection, and might even perform laboratory tests to decide which is best. Upon picking up the prescription it is important to read the directions and correctly store the medication.
Although antibiotics can do wonders, they are readily overused. The rate of prescribing can be somewhat disturbing. For example, the highest rate of prescriptions is 1.237 per person in West Virginia. In doing so, bacteria are learning how to ward of antibiotics. The CDC has now tracked nearly 20 strains of bacteria that have become resistant. Sometimes we have to let our own body fight the good fight and when symptoms become unmanageable, then the use of antibiotics can step in. The body is resilient and does not need to rely on extra help all the time. We have to pick and choose our battles.