Antibiotics are powerful drugs, used to fight infections. In fact, if they are properly used, they can even save lives.
Normally, our immune system can kill bacteria infecting our body. But in certain cases, the number of harmful bacteria is excessive. So, our immune system is not able to fight off the infection.
Thus, this is where antibiotics play their role.
They work either by destroying or preventing bacteria from reproducing.
How Antibiotics Work
Antibiotics work either by bactericidal or bacteriostatic.
Bactericidal means that it kills bacteria by interfering with the formation of the bacterial cell wall or the cell contents whereas, bacteriostatic means it works by stopping the bacteria from multiplying.
Classification of Antibiotics
There are a few classes of antibiotics, each works in different ways. Here are the main classes and the examples:
Antibiotics can be taken either by mouth or injection and they usually work a few hours after it is taken.
Some antibiotics have to be taken before food and some have to be taken after food. So, you should follow the direction given by your doctor or pharmacist.
Usually, the duration of treatment is around 5 to 14 days. However, it depends on the type of infection you are treating.
Although you might feel better before finishing the treatment course, you should not stop taking the medication before the course has finished. Doing so might cause resistance to future treatments.
Nevertheless, your doctor will decide the duration of treatment and what’s the best antibiotic for you.
There are many common side effects of this drug, such as:
- In women, vaginal yeast infections
There are also uncommon side effects, such as:
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Sensitivity to sunlight
So, if you experience these side effects, do not discontinue treatment. Instead, get your doctors advice immediately.
50 years ago, Staphylococcus Aureus was very sensitive towards penicillin.
Over time, the bacteria mutate, producing an enzyme that can break down penicillin and consequently, the drug became ineffective. In fact, this phenomenon is called antibiotic resistance.
To clarify, it happens when bacteria mutate, developing the ability to fight against drugs used to kill them.
Consequently, certain infections cannot be treated effectively. Mutation, however, can be caused by overuse or incorrect use of this drug.
In conclusion, this miracle drug is important to treat infectious diseases. Since resistance can develop, take this medication only with the doctor’s supervision.
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