There was a time when common infections like pneumonia, gonorrhoea, and many others, did not have an effective treatment. However, with the discovery of the first antibiotic Penicillin, by Alexander Fleming, the game changed.
It is considered one of the most important treatments and discoveries in the field of therapeutic medicine. Almost a century later, today, we are struggling with the problem of antibiotic resistance, and doctors are finding it more difficult than ever, to treat certain common bacterial infections.
The general idea and notion are to avoid going to the doctor, relying on our own experience, or just trusting the pharmacist and popping some over-the-counter (OTC) medicines when we fall sick.
Some of these OTC medicines are also antibiotic resistance, and there are things you should know before you use them for better treatment of certain conditions.
Antibiotics do not cure viral infections –
Antibiotics, as the name suggests, are for bacterial infections. They are not anti-viral medicines, and cannot, therefore, cure viral infections like throat infection, or respiratory tract congestion.
People very commonly use antibiotics to treat symptoms of a viral infection, which can cause resistance in the body against such antibiotics. Later, when the antibiotic is actually supposed to tackle a disease-causing bacteria in your body, the body may already be resistant to the drug.
Bacteria eventually adapt to antibiotics
The fact that we are seeing antibiotic resistance rise, after almost 100 years from the discovery of the first, tells one thing for sure, that the bacteria have adapted to the antibiotics.
Bacteria become resistant to drugs over time, which makes it hard to treat bacterial infections. Doctors have to struggle to find drugs that are effective in drug-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance among a large number of people can make it difficult to treat an infection, and easier for the infection to spread.
One antibiotic does not work for all bacterial infections
Not only do antibiotics not work for other microbial infections, one antibiotic will not work for different bacterial infections. The broad-spectrum antibiotics used in hospitals are different from OTC antibiotics, or the ones prescribed by your doctor.
Make sure you visit the doctor and get yourself the right antibiotic, for the right concern.
Do not save your antibiotics for future
Saving your antibiotics for the future gives rise to two concerns. When the doctor gives you a course of medicines, you need to complete it. Just because your symptoms are getting better, does not mean you stop your medicines.
Keeping antibiotics saved from the last time you got sick, just means you did not complete your course. Another problem with saving antibiotics for future concerns has already been addressed in the previous point.
One antibiotic will not work for some other concern, and you should not try to treat one condition with medicines for another condition.
You do not need to be afraid of antibiotics
Given the rise in antibiotic resistance, people are becoming more concerned about treatment, and have started to be scared of taking antibiotics, at all.
Remember that over-use or wrong use of the medicines are likely to make your body and the bacteria resistant to the drugs, and not medicines prescribed to you by a medical professional.