People take antibiotics for a variety of illnesses. But the question is: are we taking them the way we should? To help clear up any confusion about antibiotics, Passionate Private Duty has prepared some information for you:
- What is an antibiotic?
Antibiotics, also known as antibacterial or antimicrobial drugs, are drugs prescribed by a doctor that fight infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics only treat certain bacterial infections. Because it is only designed to treat bacteria, it cannot be used to cure viral infections like a cold, a cough or even the flu.
Now you might be thinking: “But how does an antibiotic work?” Well, there are different kinds of antibiotics, and they work in different ways to slow down, destroy or counter bacteria. Some antibiotics function by interfering with the cell wall or cell components of the bacteria to destroy them, while others stop the bacteria from growing or multiplying.
- What is antibiotic resistance?
According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health. Antibiotic resistance is when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the antibiotic that was designed to kill them. The bacteria become resistant to the drug and can continue to multiply. If even one bacterium becomes resistant to antibiotics, it can then multiply and replace all the bacteria that were killed off. Some bacteria can also become resistant through mutation. With antibiotic resistance, it becomes harder to treat different bacterial infections.
Many people are unknowingly contributing to antibiotic resistance by taking antibiotics for viral illnesses, taking incorrect dosage, saving leftover antibiotics from a bacterial infection and taking them later for any illness. Here are some practical tips to help protect yourself and others from antibiotic resistance:
- Ask your doctor if there are ways you can feel better and relieve symptoms without taking antibiotics.
- When using antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed by your doctor without skipping doses.
- Ask your doctor about vaccines that can help prevent infections that may require an antibiotic.
- Do not take antibiotics for a viral infection like a cold or the flu.
- Do not save antibiotics for the next time you get sick.
- Do not take someone else’s antibiotics.
- What are the possible side effects of antibiotic use?
Wile many people experience no side effects, antibiotics can cause side effects for some patients. Common side effects can include:
- Yeast infection
A more serious but uncommon side effect is Clostridium difficile infection (also called C. diff), which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.
People can also have allergic reactions to antibiotics.
Antibiotics have helped treat millions of people with bacterial infections. However, they can be dangerous to you as an individual or to communities at large if they are overprescribed or administered incorrectly. If you have a hard time remembering to take your prescription, your dosage amount, or if you’re concerned about side effects, you can rely on a professional home care provider for assistance. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics for an extended period of time, it’s important to take extra care in the administration of it. Nursing care services in your home can help ensure your treatment is safe and effective. We have professional caregivers at Passionate Private Duty that can help you in your home with medication management. We service Pingree Grove, Illinois, and the surrounding areas.