What are antibiotics
Antibiotics are one of the medicinal groups, that are used to kill bacteria. It works either by eliminating it directly , or by stopping its growth , or weakening it, so that the body’s immune system overcomes it.
- Antibiotics are produced either from microbes or plants, or they are completely synthetic. It prevents the growth of another microbe or slows its growth.
- Antibiotics are also known as anti-bacterial. They are prescribed by your doctor to fight bacteria.
- Usually an antibiotic is prescribed to treat some type of bacteria.
- It is not able to eliminate viruses such as influenza and colds, and most cases of sore throat are caused by a viral infection.
- Antibiotics fight infections caused by bacteria, From simple infections to life-threatening infections.
- It does its job either by destroying the bacteria directly, or by preventing them from reproducing.
- Usually, the immune system can kill the bacteria before it begins to multiply, causing symptoms to appear. As white blood cells attack harmful bacteria in an attempt to get rid of them.
- However, the number of harmful bacteria can sometimes be high, and the immune system cannot eliminate them all. Therefore, in these cases, we may resort to the use of antibiotics.
- The discovery of the first antibiotic, penicillin (extracted from the fungus Penicillium) was in 1928.
- One of the most life-changing events of the twentieth century. Before it was discovered when bacterial infections developed, there wasn’t much that doctors could do, as people died from curable illnesses and injuries.
- Currently, penicillin-based antibiotics such as ampicillin, amoxicillin, and penicillin are still available to treat a wide variety of infections, and they have been for a long time.
- Modern antibiotics are varied and available in abundance, but in most countries they are usually only taken with a prescription.
types of antibiotics
- There are different types of antibiotics, and each group has a specific way of killing bacteria.
- because bacteria are different types, there are also antibiotics, that cannot kill all types of bacteria.
- Therefore, choosing an antibiotic for treatment must be based on the type of infection, the affected area, the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and many other factors, depending on the type of infection.
A) – Types of antibiotics according to their range of activity:
- 1)- Broad spectrum antibiotics
- 2)- Specific or narrow-range antibiotics
1)- Broad spectrum antibiotics:
- It targets a wide range of bacterial strains , as it is used in the event that it is not possible to know the type of bacteria responsible for the disease.
- However, this species is more dangerous as being responsible for developing resistance from bacteria to the antibiotics used.
2)- Specific or narrow-range antibiotics:
- It targets one type of bacteria or a few types, such as penicillin.
- this type is used when knowing the type of bacteria causing the disease, it has the least contribution to the development of resistance from the bacteria.
B) – according to the way it works:
- 1)- Bactericidal antibiotbics
- 2)- Antibiotics that inhibit bacteria
1)- Bactericidal antibiotbics:
- That is, it kills the bacteria directly, without the need for help from the immune system.
- This type is preferred in patients who have immune abnormalities, such as: penicillin, cephalospin, and aminoglycosides.
2)- Antibiotics that inhibit bacteria:
- This type does not kill bacteria directly, but rather prevents or inhibits their ability to reproduce.
- leaves the immune system with the rest of the task in eliminating bacteria, such as: Tetracycline.
antibiotic resistant bacterial infection
- Bacteria are organisms that have the ability to adapt and defend themselves against antibiotics in different ways.
- Such as the secretion of some enzymes that reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotic, especially if the antibiotic was used randomly or with an insufficient dose and duration.
- Consequently, strains of bacteria emerge that have the ability to resist treatment with some or all of the available antibiotics.
- The more antibiotics are used, the greater the chance of contracting antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
It is the resistance of bacteria to an anti-bacterial drug that it used to eliminate in the past.
- The bacteria have the ability to withstand anti-drugs, which leads to invalidating the efficacy of treatments, persistence of infection and the possibility of spreading it to other people.
- This resistance occurs as a result of the misuse of anti-bacterial drugs and appears when the bacteria are mutated or when they acquire a resistance gene.
- – An antibiotic is given to treat an infection caused by bacteria. They are not effective against viruses.
- – Most upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold, influenza and sore throats, are caused by a virus.
- – In some cases, antibiotics may be given to prevent infection instead of treating it, such as before surgery.
- – Antibiotics are used for acne
- – Bronchitis – conjunctivitis (eye conjunctivitis) – otitis media – inflammation of the skin or tissues.
- – Streptococcal pharyngitis.
- – Traveler’s diarrhea – upper respiratory tract infection – urinary tract infection.
Instructions for using antibiotics :
- – Antibiotics are usually taken by mouth, and they can also be taken by injection or topically.
- – Antibiotics start to work within a few hours of taking them.
- – Antibiotic treatment must be completed to prevent re-infection, and not to give bacteria a chance to resist antibiotics in the future.
- – Some antibiotics are taken on an empty stomach an hour before food or two hours after food, and some are taken with food.
- – Dairy products should not be consumed when taking a tetracycline antibiotic, as it may affect absorption of the drug.
Duration of antibiotic use
- Using the antibiotic for a week kills the bacteria and kills them completely.
- The patient must continue to use the antibiotic for a week, even if he feels better. Because when you use the antibiotic for two days, you will feel better.
- but this improvement is due to the weakening of the bacteria, not their complete death (they may recover strength again and attack the parts of the antibiotic).
Side effects of antibiotics
- Antibiotics cause some side effects, such as:
- Digestive symptoms: slight stomach pain (nausea – vomiting – diarrhea).
- In addition to the fact that antibiotics eliminate harmful bacteria, they also eliminate beneficial bacteria. which leads to disruption of the body’s natural balance between bacteria.
- Consequently, it is possible for some types of opportunistic infections to appear, such as oral and gastrointestinal fungi proliferation.
- Some individuals may be allergic to some antibiotics, and they show symptoms of allergy when taking the medicine.
What if I forgot my antibiotic dose?
- Researchers expect that about 80% of people, on occasion, forget to take a dose of medication. So it is important to know what to do in this situation:
- Antibiotics are usually taken 1-4 times a day.
- The best way to take your doses is to divide into the same portions, of the time during the day and take at the same time each day.
- This will help maintain a steady level of the antibiotic and in your bloodstream.
If I miss a single dose of antibiotic?:
- In most cases, if you forget one dose of the antibiotic, do not double the next dose.
- Instead, you should take the missed dose as soon as you remember it, or if you do not remember it until close to the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only your next dose.
- Do not take a double dose of the antibiotic because this will increase the risk of side effects.
- You should always refer to the medicine’s package insert, which contains special advice about the antibiotic you are taking. If you do not give this leaflet, ask your pharmacist for it.
If you miss multiple doses of the antibiotic?:
- See your doctor for advice in this case, it is important to see your doctor , if you stop taking your doses because of side effects or illness.
Taking the antibiotic should be limited, as an overdose of it may cause :
- Poisoning, Some antibiotics do not kill bacteria, so they may harm the body, either by poisoning or by allergies.
- Resistance of bacteria to the antibiotic: Using the antibiotic frequently and for a long time makes it less effective, (the bacteria form antibodies against this type of antibiotic).
- Disturbing the natural balance in the body: There are types of bacteria that are beneficial to the body, and they help it to function normally.
- It may cause the use of antibiotics in excess to kill the beneficial bacteria along with harmful bacteria, leading to an imbalance in the body.
Rules for taking antibiotics
There are several rules for taking antibiotics, including:
- Use antibiotics very carefully, according to the doctor’s instructions, strictly without any explanation from you.
- Do not stop taking antibiotics before the end of the treatment period prescribed by your doctor, and do not change the dose.
- The instructions accompanying the medicine must be read , on how to take the antibiotic in the best way. in order to achieve the maximum effectiveness in facing the microbe or disease.
- We must take a full course of antibiotics, even if we feel relief or have less disease.
- Do not use the remnants of the antibiotic that you previously used, as each type of antibiotic has been precisely formulated to suit the disease and the virus that caused it. Therefore, the previous antibiotic cannot be used on the current disease.
- Do not take an antibiotic prescribed by a doctor for another person, even if the causes and symptoms are similar in your opinion.
- You do not always need an antibiotic, and this matter is only determined by the doctor. Thus, if you see that there is no need for the antibiotic, it should not be taken.
- Make sure that you and your children have received the necessary vaccinations and vaccinations that are recommended by doctors.
- Because some of them protect the body from germs, microbes and some diseases. Thus, you do not need antibiotics, because prevention is always better than treatment.
6 simple facts about antibiotic use
- 1)- Antibiotics are life-saving drugs. Using antibiotics properly is the best way to maintain their effectiveness.
- 2)- Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections only. If your child suffers from a viral infection such as a cold, consult a doctor or pharmacist about treating symptoms, and this includes over-the-counter medicines such as painkillers as well as fluids.
- 3)- Some ear infections do not need antibiotics, only a doctor can determine whether or not an ear infection needs an antibiotic.
- 4)- Most sore throats do not need an antibiotic, as the percentage of children who need an antibiotic due to sore throat is only 20% and cannot be determined by laboratory tests.
- 5)- Green or yellow nasal secretions do not mean you need an antibiotic. When the body’s immune system resists infection, the color of nasal secretions changes, and this is normal, and it does not mean that the child needs an antibiotic.
- 6)- There are risks when you use the antibiotic, as antibiotics may cause complications ranging from stomach upsets, and you may reach serious allergic symptoms.
The treating physician will weigh the risks and benefits of using, the antibiotic before prescribing it.
Tips when taking an antibiotic
When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, take care of:
- 1)- Take doses as soon as possible.
- 2)- Complete the prescribed treatment period even if you feel better because, if you stop the treatment quickly.
- 3)- Do not miss a dose.
- 4)- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as possible.
- 5)- Do not take the missed dose if it is soon time to take your next dose.
- 6)- Do not double the next dose to make up for a deficiency.
- 7)- Do not take an antibiotic prescribed for another person in any way, because it may not be suitable for your condition, and taking an inappropriate antibiotic may delay your recovery and allow the microbes to multiply.
- 8)- Avoid taking antibiotics for viral infections such as a cold, a cold, or the flu.
- 9)- Avoid urging you to ask the doctor for the antibiotic, and when he tells you that there is no point in using it because it will not help you in your treatment.
- 10)- Avoid buying an antibiotic from a pharmacy without prescribing a doctor.