When Do You Need Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are used to treat infections brought by bacteria. We can definitely say these medicines have been a boon to mankind and have been instrumental in treating infections that earlier used to be fatal. However, many people tend to misuse antibiotics and this has given rise to antibiotic resistant bacteria and also made such people resistant to these drugs.

What are Antibiotic Resistant Bacterial Infections?

As stated earlier, antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. They cannot be used to cure infections caused by viruses, like flu and the common cold. When used for non-bacterial infections, it is termed as misuse of antibiotics. This will destroy even good bacteria that the body requires. When this happens, it gives rise to antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

These infections are almost fatal and very difficult to treat. Other problems associated with such an infection include costly treatment and the risk of transmitting the infection to others. This means it can spread quickly, affecting various communities and society at large.

In fact, the statistics show that 50% usage of antibiotics is not required. As a result, they lose their ability to kill bacteria and thus cause infections. The bacteria in the body get used to antibiotics and start resisting the same when taken next time. This means that antibiotics may not work if used excessively. Thus, antibiotics should be avoided as much as possible and should be used only on prescription by a doctor, who knows when and how much of the medication the patient should take. And, you, the patient should take just the prescribed dosage as advised by the doctor to benefit from it.

When Do You Need Antibiotics?

Antibiotics provide a quick solution to medical problems and that is the reason why we prefer popping antibiotics even for small, inconsequential ailments. It is best to consult your physician before taking antibiotics. Remember, self-medication can be dangerous. Moreover, antibiotics have no effect on viral infections.

Before we get into when, let’s take a look at when you shouldn’t take these medicines.

  • Never use antibiotics for common cold symptoms as sore throat and neck pain, runny nose, post-nasal drip, cough, fever, laryngitis, sinus congestion, discoloured nasal discharge and headache.
  • One should not take antibiotics for seasonal flu-like symptoms, such as colds, aches, pains, chills, fever up to 103 degrees and sensitivity to light.
  • You should refrain from taking these medications in case of cough, bronchitis, sore throat and running nose.

You can take antibiotics for the following, after consulting your physician:

  • It may be taken sometimes for ear infection and pain, and sinus infection.
  • You would surely need antibiotics during strep throat, and urinary tract infection.
  • Respiratory illness is usually caused by bacteria. In such cases, antibiotics would be recommended.
  • For prolonged cough, it is better to consult a doctor and only on his advice should you start taking antibiotics.
  • After a surgical procedure, doctors will put you on antibiotics to prevent infection
  • Before tooth extraction, the dentist will prescribe antibiotics

Things to Note

  • Do not share your antibiotic with anyone else or keep it for use later.
  • Take antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor at the time mentioned. Keep in mind antibiotics should be taken only on a full stomach.
  • Don’t discontinue with antibiotics if you start feeling better. Take the entire prescribed course.