Treating numerous serious diseases these days is unthinkable without antibiotics. They proved to be highly efficient against bacteria-caused infections. Antibiotics effectively curb diseases and prevent the development of complications. Yet, taking antibiotics unnecessarily or being careless about the amount might build up resistance to the medications. If your resistance grows too strong, antibiotics will no longer be so effective. With every intake of antibiotics out of turn, you might be doing your body a disservice. Read on to find out about the risks of taking antibiotics.
Is antibiotic safety really so important?
Mostly, if properly used, antibiotics are quite safe; still, it doesn’t mean they cannot do any harm – they can, so a certain amount of knowledge will be required.
Salient facts to be aware of are:
With antibiotics you may fall prey to side effects, some of which are rather bad: strong allergic reactions and diarrhea which can take an evil turn and end in death. These aggravations causing around 14,000 deaths among the Americans with each year can be brought about by C. Diff, the Clostridium difficile bacteria. Besides, antibiotics can interact adversely with your other current medication.
Issues caused by antibiotics’ side effects account for nearly one out of five calls to emergency – and if we consider children and teenagers, they definitely constitute the predominant reason for inviting an emergency department visit.
Those who take antibiotics unnecessarily do not derive any value from them but subject themselves to their side effects with unpredictable results.
When should you take antibiotics?
Make sure you really need them before you take them.
You need them just for bacteria-related infections, to name but a few:
- Urinary tract infection, aka UTI
- Whooping cough
- Strep throat
If your problem is virus-related, antibiotics won’t help you with such issues as:
- Flu (including stomach flu)
- Almost all chest colds
- Runny noses with thick greenish mucus
- Sore throats if they are not strep throat
- Coronavirus 2019
With some common-type bacterial-related infections, there is also no need to resort to antibiotics; they include almost all kinds of sinus infections as well as certain ear infections.
Should you go for antibiotics in the wrong cases, you will get no benefit, but their side effects will become active and harmful. This means that you should always take antibiotics by your doctor’s prescription only. Don’t ask your doctor for antibiotics yourself.
Why be wary of antibiotics?
Due to a frequent intake of antibiotics antibiotic resistance begins to develop; with a strong resistance, antibiotics will become far less potent.
With prolonged antibiotic treatment, the immune system can suffer quite a lot of damage from their side effects.
There can be various side effects, the range covering such issues as damage to the bones, problems with digestion, and sensitivity to light. To be forewarned, find and read the description of the side effects before making use of the medication.
What is Antibiotic resistance?
There are antibiotics that once were commonly used to treat bacterial infections – but now they have very low efficiency. Also, there are medicines that are no good at all in particular cases because some bacteria became what is called antibiotic resistant. Antibiotic resistance is actually growing and joins the list of the world’s critical medical problems.
When antibiotics are wrongly used and overused, antibiotic resistance can set in pretty quickly. Practitioners, hospitals, and health care specialists should take care to prevent misuse of such medication with a view of stemming the development of antibiotic resistance.
What changes does antibiotic resistance bring?
At the beginning as new antibiotics sprang up into existence the problem of resistance wasn’t so stringent. Later on, though, resistance grew and started to create more and more troubles during antibiotic treatment.
Year after year, bacteria that can no longer be treated with antibiotics cause over 2.8 million infections all over the United States, 35,000 of which turn out to be terminal.
The commonest bad effects of resistant bacteria can be as follows:
- a worse run of the disease
- longer treatment requiring more expenses
- a more difficult recovery
- having to stay in hospital for longer periods
- health care provider has to come very often
Side effects of taking antibiotics
As already mentioned above, many antibiotics cause stomach upset or other gastrointestinal side effects. These can include:
You already know that a number of antibiotics can affect gastro intestines and induce gastric disturbances such as:
- cramps in the stomach
- vomiting impulses
What’s more, misuse of certain antibiotics can lead to a rapid increase of gut microbes, changing the microbiota dramatically; in its turn it leads to changes in the person’s mood and even cognitive abilities. According to Pshychologytoday, “scientists have long known about a direct connection between acute psychosis and certain antibiotics, including penicillin, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, and macrolides… This isn’t a new finding; doctors have documented a wide variety of mental complications with penicillin since 1945. The list of symptoms is long, including seizures, aphasia, spasms, psychosis, confusion, lethargy, anxiety, and coma.”
Antibiotic allergic reactions
In some cases people react to the overuse of antibiotics with an allergic reaction; penicillin and cephalosporins are known to produce that. The allergic reaction will rarely be strong, though. It mostly manifests itself as:
- coughing and/or wheezing
- an itchy skin
- raised rash
- breathing troubles due to tightness of the throat
Generally such instances of mild allergy lend yourselves easily to antihistamine treatment. In worse cases if the symptoms fail to wear out you would do well to arrange for a consultation with your doctor to see what other medicines can be taken.
Severe allergic reactions
Some of antibiotic side effects may be severe allergies and hypersensitive responses in the body which require emergency room treatment. When discussing the condition with your doctor mind you mention all allergic reactions induced by other medicines, especially antibiotics. There may even set in anaphylaxis – the worst allergic reaction that could be terminal and will require speedy medical care.
Antibiotic-caused anaphylactic reactions are commonly as follows:
- Bouts of nausea which may be accompanied by vomiting
- Wheezing, difficulty with breathing
- Racing heart
- Lightheadedness, vertigo
- Swollen face, lips, sometimes tongue
- Onsets of shock
If you experience an onset of any of these signals after you have taken an antibiotic, dial 911 and ask for medical care.
Besides, other side effects of taking antibiotics include loss of appetite, fungal (yeast) vaginal infections or oral thrush.
How to take antibiotics?
Once you have been prescribed antibiotics, make sure you take them correctly. If your doctor has definitely decided on antibiotics as the best remedy, observe these simple rules:
- Follow the doctor’s instructions on taking them to a letter.
- Never lend your antibiotics to another person.
- Don’t leave them behind for the next time – make inquiries about how best to get rid of leftover antibiotics.
- Never take somebody else’s antibiotics – they will interfere with your treatment course. It is also possible that you may feel worse or suffer from unexpected side effects.
All questions about antibiotics and how they should be taken must be raised in consultation with your doctor.