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Know Your Medicines: Antibiotics


Have fever? Pop an antibiotic.

Have flu? Pop an antibiotic.

Have chills? Pop an antibiotic.

Have an upset stomach? Pop an antibiotic.

In short, antibiotics are our go-to medicines for almost every illness. Most often than not, we do not go to a doctor but use an antibiotic prescribed long back for common infections. But this is not right because antibiotic should only be used to treat bacterial infections. And your doctor prescribes antibiotics for a reason. Here’s more on what everyone should know about antibiotics.

What is an antibiotic?

Antibiotic — as the name suggests — is a medicine used to prevent the growth of bacteria or kill bacteria.

How do they work?

The mechanism of action varies from antibiotic to antibiotic but most work by:

-Weakening the cell wall of bacteria and bursting its contents, thereby killing it.

-Inhibiting the bacterial growth, multiplication and spread

What are the types of antibiotics?

Antibiotics are classified into-

Broad-spectrum antibiotics work on a wide range of bacteria. An antibiotic belonging to this category can used to treat multiple infections such as a ear infection, sinus infection and throat infection.
Narrow-spectrum antibiotics work on specific types of bacteria. An antibiotic that belongs to this category can only be used to treat a single infection such as throat infection.

What can be treated with antibiotics?

Antibiotics can be used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Some of the common bacterial infections are:

Dental infections
Sinus infection
Ear infections
Strep throat
Skin infections
Urinary tract Infections (UTIs)
Kidney infections
Bacterial pneumonias
Whooping cough

Antibiotics DO NOT work against viral or fungal infections such as-

Common cold
Sore throat
Stomach flu

Dos and don’ts when on antibiotics

What you should do

Do include probiotics (or curd) in meals.

Do take antibiotics only when prescribed.

Do discard any leftover medicine.

Do eat light, easy-to-digest and non-spicy/oily/salty food.

Do stay hydrated.

Do complete the course of antibiotics prescribed.

Do inform your doctor if you are taking any other medicines.

Do discuss about the side-effects of antibiotics and ways to deal it, with your doctor.

What you should not do

Do not share antibiotics.

Do not ask for antibiotics at your doctor’s clinic.

Do not discontinue antibiotics without the doctor’s recommendation.

Do not take antibiotics for viral infections.

Do not save antibiotics for future use.

Do not skip doses of antibiotics.

Do not stop taking antibiotics when you feel better.

Do not take antibiotics with fruit juices, tea, coffee or any other drinks.

Do not take antibiotics with birth control pills.

Recommended Reads:

How To Store Medicines Properly

Important Drug Alert For People Taking Antibiotics

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